Pakistan willing to amend anti-terror laws: Gilani

January 24th, 2009 - 10:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghIslamabad, Jan 24 (IANS) Pakistan is willing to amend its laws to enable it prosecute its nationals responsible for terror acts outside the country and is also prepared to share intelligence with India to prevent the recurrence of Mumbai-style attacks, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has said.Since the present statute doesn’t apply to people who have committed offences outside Pakistan, “if somebody is out of country and is guilty, then certainly we have to look in to our own laws as well”, Gilani told the Financial Times in an interview published Saturday.

“The prime minister’s comments are the most forthright of any Pakistani leader that the country will cooperate with its neighbour and the international community to bring the Mumbai attackers to book,” the newspaper noted.

India has blamed the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant group for the Nov 26-29 Mumbai attacks that claimed the lives of more than 170 people, including 26 foreigners, and injured over 300.

India has furnished to Pakistan a detailed dossier pointing to the involvement of elements from this country in the Mumbai assaults. The Pakistani interior ministry has set up a three-member panel to examine this document.

On the question of intelligence sharing, Gilani said if this “is needed, I have talked to (Indian Prime Minister) Dr. Manmohan Singh that whatever the intelligence sharing you need, we’ll extend full cooperation”.

“Had they had that sort of information and they wanted to share with us, prior to the incident, maybe we would have been in a position to help them. At the same time we all have to improve our intelligence agencies so that we should know prior to something happening in the country,” the prime minister maintained.

In this context, he noted that Pakistan would need India’s assistance “for getting to the culprits” of the Mumbai attacks.

Pakistan, Gilani said, wanted to maintain excellent relations with its neighbours, “and if anybody in an investigation is found to be the culprit (in the Mumbai mayhem), we will proceed according to the law and we will ensure to the world that justice will be done.”

In this context, Financial Times noted that the results of the investigation “are expected in the coming days. Three or four militants, including (LeT commanders) Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi and Zarar Shah, are expected to be charged.

“The initial charges are likely to be levelled against the militants for cyber crimes, based on communications between the militants who staged the commando-style raid on Mumbai’s waterfront hotels and their handlers,” the newspaper added.

“It’s a bit like getting Al Capone on tax charges. But at least it gets the militants in jail,” it quoted a western diplomat in Islamabad as saying.

Asked whether Pakistan would agree to India’s demand for the extradition of the LeT operatives, Gilani said: “So far, there is no such thing. But that depends on our normalisation of relations”.

Replying to a question on this aspect, the prime minister said: “I think when India will see that our intention and our investigations, and whatever information is provided to us, we are dealing on merit, I think that would help our relationship.”

About the pace of investigation, he said: “I don’t want to step in to the domain of the interior ministry but at the same time we have to act fast.”

Gilani replied in the negative when asked whether the attacks were launched from Pakistan.

“No, this is not the issue because the government of India doesn’t blame the government (of Pakistan), they don’t even blame the organisations, institutions. They were only pointing out to the individuals, and individuals, those people, are from every part of the world,” he contended.

“I assure you one thing that my soil will not be used for terrorism against anybody because that is our responsibility and we have to own our responsibility that we are a peaceful country,” Gilani asserted.

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