Mumbai didn’t figure in Holbrooke-Qureshi talks, says Pakistan (Roundup)

February 10th, 2009 - 8:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaIslamabad/New Delhi, Feb 10 (IANS) The Mumbai terror attacks did not figure in the discussions between visiting US special envoy Richard Holbrooke and Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, even as New Delhi asked Islamabad for a direct response on its terror dossier.

“In the interactions we had, Mumbai did not surface at all,” Qureshi replied when asked at a press conference in Islamabad whether the Mumbai mayhem that India has blamed on elements operating from this country figured in his discussions with Holbrooke.

Holbrooke paid his first official visit to Islamabd after US President Barack Obama appointed him as his special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The sub-continental tensions in the wake of the Mumbai carnage, however, figured during Holbrook’s meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari.

On its part, India, incensed over Pakistan airing its views on the Mumbai attacks through the media and other fora, again asked Islamabad to convey this directly through diplomatic channels.

“The fact is that we have Pakistan saying various things at various times, various fora and to various audiences,” Indian Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon told journalists in New Delhi on his return from Dhaka late Monday.

Menon was commenting on reports on Pakistan’s response to the dossier India gave on the Nov 26-29, 2008, terror attacks that claimed the lives of over 170 people, including 26 foreigners, and injured over 300 others.

He said India was “not going to react to statements to the media, different statements through different people, through speculation and through guesswork.”

“If they (Pakistan) have something to say to us, they should come and directly talk to us,” Menon maintained.

Pakistan Monday said it needed more information on the Mumbai mayhem, and New Delhi expectedly reacted in anger, accusing Islamabad of insincerity in prosecuting the perpetrators of the carnage.

Pakistan said after a meeting of its cabinet Defence Coordination Committee that the evidence India furnished, pointing to involvement of elements from Pakistan in the Mumbai mayhem, was insufficient.

“The meeting, however, observed that without substantial evidence from India, it will be exceedingly difficult to complete the investigation and proceed with the case,” said a statement issued after the meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Gilani.

Pakistan Army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani was among those who attended the meeting.

India has blamed the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terror group for the Mumbai attacks. It has also asked for the extradition of LeT commanders Zakiur Shah Lakhvi and Zarrar who, it says, had planned the mayhem.

Pakistan turned down the demand, even as it arrested the duo during a crackdown on the Jamaat-ud Daawa, which the LeT had morphed itself into after it was banned in the wake of the Dec 13, 2001, attack on the Indian parliament. New Delhi has blamed that attack also on the LeT.

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