Pakistan to send team to India to mend ties (Lead)

December 10th, 2008 - 9:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Dec 10 (IANS) Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said Wednesday that Pakistan would send a high-level delegation to India to mend ties ruptured by the Mumbai terror mayhem.Speaking to reporters at his hometown Multan before flying back to Islamabad, Gilani added that investigations were under way about militant Islamic groups blamed by India for the Mumbai carnage that killed 172 people, including several foreigners.

He said that the security agencies were interrogating arrested leaders of banned organisations like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM).

But Gilani insisted that Pakistan was not acting “under pressure from India”. New Delhi has blamed terrorist groups based in Pakistan for the raids on Mumbai.

He said Pakistan had begun investigations after arresting some leaders and members of the banned outfits, adding it was a “good gesture” by Islamabad for the entire world, including India.

The prime minister said if the Indian intelligence send information or lists regarding terror suspects, “we will investigate it”.

To a question, Gilani said that chances of improving the tense India-Pakistan relations were at their best when a democratic government was at the helm of affairs.

Asked about the LeT’s Zakiur Rehman Lakhwi and Zarrar Shah, the prime minister confirmed they had been arrested and were being interrogated. But he would not comment on the matter till the investigations ended.

Gilani reiterated Pakistan’s stance that the government will not allow its territory to be used by terrorists.

“I want to assure the people and the whole world that we will not allow Pakistani soil to be utilised by terrorists,” he said.

The prime minister said terrorism was a global phenomenon, India was not the only victim of terrorism, and terrorists had no religion and respected no boundaries.

In addition to Indians, US nationals, Britons and Israelis also lost their lives in the Mumbai tragedy, he said.

“We sympathise with the victims of the Mumbai attacks and strongly condemn terrorism,” Gilani maintained.

Asked about a potential military conflict with India, he said Pakistan was “a responsible nuclear state and its reaction to events is always cautious”.

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