No evidence of Jamaat hand in acts of violence: Pakistan minister

December 14th, 2008 - 2:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghIslamabad, Dec 14 (IANS) Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said there was no evidence that the newly-banned Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a front for the terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), was engaged in any acts of violence, the Dawn reported Sunday. “If there is evidence (of terror activities) we will take action,” Qureshi told reporters in Paris when asked about the Jamaat, which was listed as a terror outfit by the UN on Wednesday. India has blamed the LeT for the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai.

“They’re running schools, hospitals, dispensaries… but if this organisation or elements in it are getting into a mode of violence”, then authorities will take action, Qureshi was quoted by Dawn as saying to a news agency.

He also rejected Indian accusations that Pakistan was the “epicentre of terrorism” and accused some Indian leaders of using it as a convenient scapegoat for their own political agendas.

“Because of domestic political compulsions, some Indian leaders have been looking for a scapegoat” for the recent Mumbai attacks, reacting to the accusation of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and opposition leader L.K. Advani in parliament that Pakistan is the “epicentre of terrorism”.

“And when you want a scapegoat, Pakistan is (for historical reasons) the obvious choice,” Qureshi told reporters, adding that “we have to rise above our petty politics for the larger interest of the region”.

Qureshi said Islamabad was at the forefront of the global fight against terror and noted that “India does not blame the Pakistani government” for last month’s carnage in Mumbai that left more than 170 people dead, Dawn reported.

He said Islamabad had offered to send a high-level team to carry out a joint probe with India into the attacks.

“We’ve made an offer. We’re waiting for their response.”

He strongly deplored the Mumbai attacks and said “we have extended our sympathy to the Indian government and its people on the Mumbai carnage many times”, Geo TV reported.

He said both India and Pakistan have equally fallen victim to terrorism but “considering Pakistan as responsible for terrorism in the region would not help curb this menace”, and added that “India knows Pakistan’s sacrifices that it laid down in combating terrorism”.

He also said that maintaining India-Pakistan friendship was in “the greatest interest of the progress, prosperity and peace in the region”.

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