Pakistan officially owns up to Kasab (Second Intro Roundup)

January 7th, 2009 - 11:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghIslamabad/New Delhi, Jan 7 (IANS) After weeks of denials, Pakistan Wednesday finally owned up to the lone survivor of Mumbai attacks Ajmal Amir Kasab but, given the heinous nature of the crime, refused to provide him the legal aid he has sought.”We have received information from the competent authority that he’s a Pakistani,” foreign office spokesman Muhammad Sadiq told IANS.

However, the spokesman said that Pakistan will not provide any legal aid to him. “He has done a heinous crime and cannot be provided any sort of help,” Sadiq maintained.

Information Minister Sherry Rehman also confirmed that Kasab is a Pakistani national. She said this in a text message sent to several journalists, after which the foreign office spokesman also confirmed the report.

However, both refused to give more details.

The confusion began in the evening when a television channel quoted National Security Advisor Mahmud Durrani as saying that Kasab is a Pakistani. However, his spokesman was quick to deny his statement but Rehman then sent her message to journalists.

Later, Rehman told GEO TV that Pakistan will make public any reports after the investigations into the Mumbai carnage. “We don’t want to hide anything and want a transparent probe into the incident,” she added.

In New Delhi, 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 so-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.

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