Pakistan offers India joint probe team (Lead)

December 2nd, 2008 - 6:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Dec 2 (IANS) Pakistan has offered India a joint team to probe the Mumbai terror attacks, even as it says it will “frame a response” to New Delhi’s demand for handing over 20 of India’s most wanted men.”The government of Pakistan has offered a joint investigating mechanism and a joint commission to India,” Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said in a nationwide telecast.

“We are ready to jointly go into the depth of this issue and we are ready to compose a team that could help you,” Qureshi added.

India has said that the terrorists who struck at Mumbai over three days and three nights last week, killing 183 and injuring over 300, had come from Pakistan.

According to Qureshi, terrorism was the biggest challenge both Pakistan and India faced. “It’s a common enemy. We need to devise a joint strategy to deal with the situation,” he maintained.

At the same time, India and Pakistan should not allow their composite dialogue to get derailed in the wake of the Mumbai killings, he said.

“We want better relations… and it is in the larger interest of the two countries to continue the composite dialogue process.

“Our composite dialogue was proceeding on the right path. It is in our bilateral interests to keep it constructive and continue with it,” Qureshi added.

Qureshi met 36 foreign diplomats and briefed them on the current situation in the wake of the Mumbai attacks.

Speaking separately to reporters here, Information Minister Sherry Rehman said of the Indian demand for handing over the 20 most wanted men: “We have to look at it formally once we get it and we will frame a response.”

The demand was contained in a protest note handed Monday to Pakistani High Commissioner in New Delhi Shahid Malik.

Among the names on the list are Mumbai underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and Maulana Masood Azhar, a Pakistani Muslim cleric freed from jail in India in exchange for passengers on a hijacked plane.

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