India rubbishes Pakistan’s ‘political rejection’ of Mumbai evidence (Intro Roundup)

January 7th, 2009 - 10:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi/Islamabad, Jan 7 (IANS) India Wednesday reacted sharply to Pakistan’s rejection of evidence linking its nationals to the Mumbai attacks, saying it was a “political rejection” that lacked any credibility. India also spurned Islamabad’s fresh proposals for a new mechanism to deal with terror.New Delhi also reminded Islamabad that the issue was not merely words or statements but “what Pakistan does about terrorist attacks on India from Pakistan”.

“How can this rejection be credible or be based on a real examination and investigation of the evidence? This is a political rejection without any basis,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Vishnu Prakash said in response to Pakistan Foreign Office’s rejection of evidence barely 24 hours after it was given Monday.

“It is unfortunate that the Pakistan Foreign Office has chosen to regress into its previous patterns of denial of facts, evidence and reality,” the spokesperson said.

Spurning Islamabad’s do-called “constructive” proposals for a new mechanism against terror and a high-level visit, New Delhi made it clear that “Pakistan’s evasion and denial” have made the existing mechanisms “infructuous.”

“It is, therefore, unclear what purpose would be served by yet another mechanism, or by a high-level visit, especially if Pakistan continues to maintain the attitude revealed by the foreign office press release,” the spokesperson said.

“The issue is not words or statements or the situation in South Asia. The issue is what Pakistan does about terrorist attacks on India from Pakistan,” he added.

Indicating India’s growing wariness with repeated denials by Pakistan, Defence Minister A.K. Antony Wednesday asserted that India had “all available and possible options” open and asked Pakistan to book those who gave “inspiration, direction and support” to the Mumbai attacks and to “dismantle” the terror outfits functioning from its territory.

“There are two things. Those persons who gave inspiration, direction and support (to the terrorists in Mumbai) should be booked. Secondly, more than 30 terror outfits are active across the border. To dismantle them is the duty of the (Pakistani) government,” Antony told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.

“After 26/11, there are no serious attempts to disband the terror outfits across the border and that is a major worry…. We are examining all available, possible options to prevent a repeat of this kind of infiltration and tragic incidents like what happened in Mumbai,” Antony said, declining to elaborate on the options available.

Pakistan Tuesday “emphatically” rejected Indian allegations of “official” Pakistani involvement in the Mumbai carange. Foreign Office spokesman Muhammad Sadiq accused India of “propaganda” and “whipping up tensions” in the region “instead of responding positively to (Pakistan’s) offer of cooperation” in probing the attacks.

Sadiq also said New Delhi “must take steps to de-escalate its offensive military posture against Pakistan”.

The spokesperson was referring to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s hard-hitting speech Tuesday in which he said “official agencies” of the Pakistan government were complicit in the Mumbai attack and accused Islamabad of having “utilised terrorism as an instrument of state policy against India.”

Pakistani Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir added to this Tuesday, saying the details of the Mumbai attacks provided by India could not be treated as evidence, and that it did not contain information that could help the investigators.

“The details provided by India are mere information and cannot be treated as evidence or help in the investigations,” Bashir told the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs.

India’s sharp riposte to Pakistan came amid reports that Islamabad has finally admitted that Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone terrorist captured during the Mumbai carnage, was indeed a Pakistani national but was unsure whether it would provide him consular access as he has asked for to defend himself.

“Pakistani authorities, during the course of their own investigations into the Mumbai carnage have established the identity of the only surviving terrorist Ajmal Kasab as a Pakistani national,” Dawnnews reported on its website.

Also on Tuesday, India’s Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma urged Pakistan to own up Kasab’s nationality as the “first step” to indicate its intention to cooperate in the probe into the Mumbai mayhem.

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