Gilani rejects Indian evidence, Britain seeks action on Mumbai (Roundup)

January 13th, 2009 - 10:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Nawaz SharifIslamabad/New Delhi, Jan 13 (IANS) Hours after India called upon Pakistan Tuesday to act against Pakistanis linked to the Mumbai terror attacks, Islamabad dismissed the Indian evidence as mere “information”.British Foreign Secretary David Miliband meanwhile declared here that London was “absolutely clear” about the origin of the Nov 26-29 Mumbai terrorists but quickly added that the Pakistani state was not to blame.

“Responsibility … exists in Pakistan to bring the perpetrators to justice,” Miliband told reporters here, specifically naming the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist group, which India has said carried out the killings of some 170 people, including 26 foreigners.

“I have said publicly that I do not believe the attacks were directed by the Pakistani state and I think it’s important to restate that,” added the British minister who is on a four-day visit to India.

At the same press conference, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee urged the world “not to see the Mumbai attacks through the prism of India-Pakistan relations” but as part of global terrorism that does not respect national boundaries.

“I do hope they (Pakistan) act on material evidence we have given to them and bring the perpetrators (of the terrorist attack) to justice,” he said, reiterating a line India has taken since 10 terrorists who New Delhi says were Pakistanis sneaked into Mumbai by sea and went on a killing spree. “I do hope some of the (Indian) fugitives (living in Pakistan) will (also) be handed to India.”

Within hours, Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani rejected the evidence provided by India on the Mumbai attacks, dismissing it as “some information”.

“These are not evidence. This needs to be carefully examined. Information provided by India has been sent to the ministry of interior for necessary enquiry in accordance with the law,” he said. “The results will be shared with India in due course of time.”

Gilani reiterated that Pakistan was the first country to condemn the Mumbai attacks. He added that “serious and realistic cooperation” between India and Pakistan “would help us move forward in the investigation”.

Former Pakistan prime minister and opposition leader Nawaz Sharif sounded conciliatory but echoed Islamabad’s official line that there should be a joint India-Pakistan probe into the Mumbai attacks. New Delhi has rejected the demand.

Pakistan and India “should jointly probe the Mumbai attacks and immediately resume the composite dialogue process”, he said in Islamabad.

Sharif, the first senior politician to say that the lone terrorist caught in Mumbai was a Pakistani, pointed out that this was not the time to raise war slogans.

He urged India to “hold dialogue with Pakistan instead of giving threats”. “War is not a solution, rather it will increase (our) problems.”

In New Delhi, British Foreign Secretary Miliband said: “We are absolutely clear about the origin of the terrorist attack and the responsibility that exists in Pakistan to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

He added: “The responsibility of the Pakistan side is something we expect them to fulfil. Those who have been arrested must be brought to justice and, if found guilty, need to be punished…

“What is relevant is the approach of the Pakistani state to the LeT organisation and the way the Pakistani state takes on the menace of the LeT organisation,” he added.

Miliband called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and met Home Minister P. Chidambaram and discussed with them issues related to the Mumbai attacks.

Miliband praised India for the “maturity,” “wisdom” and “determination” for responding diplomatically rather than militarily to the attacks.

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