Hand over Mumbai attack suspects, India again asks Pakistan (Lead)

December 26th, 2008 - 11:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghIslamabad, Dec 26 (IANS) India Friday reiterated its demand for the extradition of three people allegedly involved in the Mumbai attacks and other terrorist activities in the country while Pakistan’s prime minister said this country would not provoke an aggression but will defend itself if attacked.India’s High Commissioner to Pakistan Satyabrata Pal made the demand Friday during his meeting with Foreign Secretary Sulman Bashir and also asked for measures to stop terrorism originating from Pakistan.

Bashir said any action against the three people - including Jaish-e-Muhammad chief Masood Azhar and mob boss Dawood Ibrahim - would be taken after receiving evidence against them, according to officials.

“The Indian high commissioner was told that both these persons were not present in Pakistan,” said an official, adding that Ibrahim has never lived in Pakistan and is an Indian national, while Azhar has left the country and the government was also looking for him.

About Lashkar-e-Taiaba chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, Pal was told that he is under government custody without any charge and any action against him can only be taken after reviewing any evidence provided by India.

Bashir also met the ambassadors of China, Germany and Russia to update them on the situation after what he termed war threats from India. Officials quoted Bashir as saying that Pakistan was ready to hold talks with India on the terrorism issue at any place and time.

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said Pakistan will not launch an aggression, but if attacked, it would retaliate with full force.

Talking to media at the wedding reception of former foreign minister Khursheed Mehmood Kasuri’s son, Gilani said there was no contact with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh after the Nov 26-29 Mumbai attacks.

He said the armed forces continue to play their role while remaining well poised and alert round the clock.

To a question on Saudi Arabia, whose foreign minister paid a daylong visit to New Delhi Friday, Gilani said all peace loving nations were playing their part in defusing the tension between Pakistan and India.

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi telephoned his Pakistan counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi for an exchange of views on bilateral relations besides discussing regional and international issues.

Yang stressed the need for defusing Pakistan-India tensions and underscored the need for a dialogue for resolving their differences, adding that tension between the two countries will only help terrorists grow stronger.

Yang also assured Qureshi of China’s continued cooperation to Pakistan for bringing peace and stability in the region.

Qureshi said Pakistan was ready to launch a combined investigation if India provided concrete evidence of elements from this country being involved in the Mumbai carnage.

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