Pakistan ready to work with India, Gilani tells US official (Lead)

January 5th, 2009 - 7:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Nawaz SharifIslamabad, Jan 5 (IANS) Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani Monday, while talking to a senior US official, said that his government was ready to cooperate with India in the investigations of the Mumbai terror attacks and wants peace in the region.The prime minister was talking to US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher who called on him Monday to discuss the tension between Pakistan and India and other issues regarding terrorism in the region.

An official said that the meeting lasted for about 50 minutes during which the demands of the Indian side regarding handing over of the Mumbai attacks mastermind was also discussed.

The prime minister told the visiting US official that his country was ready to cooperate with India and has already offered “joint investigations” into the Mumbai attacks that killed over 170 people in November last year.

According to the official, Gilani said Pakistan wants regional peace and wants to resolve all issues with India through dialogue.

The official said that during talks the prime minister also mentioned about the Kashmir issue. “Peace in the region was not possible without resolving the outstanding issues.”

Boucher also met Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and discussed in detail the Pakistan-India relations and war on terror on Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

“The minister told the US official that in case of tension with India, Pakistan will have to remove troops from the Western borders,” said the official.

The meetings were held on the day when India gave evidences to Islamabad about the links of the Mumbai attackers with a militant organisation in Pakistan.

Sources quoting Boucher said that he urged Pakistan to “fully cooperate” with India and also “to consider” handing over the persons named by India as mastermind of the Mumbai attacks.

The US official, however, was told that no one will be handed over to India and if proved guilty, Pakistan will deal with them according to its own laws.

Boucher is also scheduled to meet President Asif Ali zardari and opposition leader and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. The meetings are said to be the farewell calls by the official of the outgoing Bush Administration.

Pakistan confirmed Monday that it has received “evidence” handed over by Indian authorities on the Mumbai attacks and was reviewing the substance.

“The Indian foreign secretary has handed over some information material regarding terrorist attacks in Mumbai to Pakistan’s high commissioner in New Delhi this (Monday) morning,” Muhammad Sadiq, foreign ministry spokesman, told IANS.

He said the material has been received in Pakistan now and “is being examined by concerned authorities”. The spokesman did not give any timeframe for reply to the Indian authorities.

Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters in India Monday that the evidence has been handed over to Pakistan linking the militants who carried out the November attacks to “elements in Pakistan”.

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