Zardari meets US envoy on Mumbai attacks

January 2nd, 2009 - 7:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Jan 2 (IANS) President Asif Ali Zardari Friday met the US envoy here to brief her on Pakistan’s stance on the Mumbai attacks and called for resuming the dialogue with India to ease tension in the wake of the carnage.US Ambassador to Pakistan Anne W. Patterson met Zardari to discuss the latest situation after the Mumbai attacks. Zardari said that India had not responded positively to Pakistan’s offer of a joint probe into the attacks that New Delhi says were staged by elements operating from this country.

A statement issued by the presidency quoted Patterson as saying that the US was in constant contact with the Indian and Pakistani leadership, and it supported the dialogue process so that the tension between two South Asian neighbours could be defused.

The statement said that the matters relating to terrorism and the regional situation were also discussed during the meeting.

Zardari told Patterson about Pakistan’s efforts and repeated offers of cooperation with India in the Mumbai attacks’ investigation.

A foreign office spokesman, meanwhile, said that Pakistan was awaiting India’s response on “our proposals regarding joint investigation” of the Mumbai strikes.

The spokesman said Pakistan was ready to cooperate with India in investigating the Mumbai attacks and that both countries should work together to prevent acts of terrorism in the region.

“This pernicious phenomenon requires international cooperation at every level,” the spokesman pointed out.

Media reports Friday said the US administration is now urging Pakistan to ensure that those responsible for the Mumbai terror attacks are punished inside the country instead of being extradited to India.

The Dawn daily, quoting unnamed sources in Washington, said the Bush administration has informed Pakistan it would like the Pakistani government to initiate the “prosecution (of the suspects) with sufficient efforts to ensure conviction”.

A senior diplomat based in Islamabad claimed that positive things are taking place despite statements and counter-statements by the leadership of both countries.

“The US has demanded assurances from both the countries that they would not escalate tension that could lead to a war,” said the diplomat.

“The attitude of both the governments has changed if we compare it with the last 10/20 days… and this is a good sign towards better understanding,” the diplomat told IANS.

On the other hand, parliament’s committee on foreign affairs, which was expected to issue a harsh statement regarding the Mumbai attacks and subsequent statements by the Indian leadership, restricted itself to the strikes by Israel on the Palestinians.

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