India asks Pakistan for periodic reports on Mumbai probe (Intro Roundup)

January 19th, 2009 - 10:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad/New Delhi, Jan 19 (IANS) India Monday asked Pakistan to speed up its investigations into the Mumbai attacks and share the “outcome” of this on a periodical basis rather than waiting for the final report, even as foreign envoys based in Islamabad were briefed on the progress of the probe.Indian High Commissioner Satyabarata Pal conveyed the demand during a meeting with Interior Ministry Advisor Rehman Malik, a senior official said.

The official said India wants Pakistan to speed up the investigations and share the outcome on a periodical basis. “The high commissioner also assured the advisor that the Indian government will provide all possible information and evidence on the attacks,” the official added.

This was the first senior level contact between the two countries since India earlier this month demanded the extradition of Nov 26-29 Mumbai attack suspects.

“The meeting was held in a friendly atmosphere and both sides exchanged (information about) the latest situation in their countries regarding the attacks,” the official said.

Pakistan has appointed a three-member probe team to examine the Indian dossier about Mumbai attacks that claimed over 170 lives and to investigate the suspected links of the attackers with Pakistan-based militant organizations.

Malik is directly supervising the team and is “in constant touch with” it, the official said, adding the interior ministry is fully facilitating the exercise.

Sources said that Malik, during his meeting with Pal, also raised the issue of access to Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone survivor of the Mumbai attacks.

“Now that it has been established that Kasab is a Pakistani, the probe team is likely to interrogate him,” said the official.

Pal expressed gratitude to the advisor on behalf of the Indian government for playing an important role in the investigation into the Mumbai attacks.

Later, Malik told reporters that Pal had assured him that more information would be shared with Pakistan regarding the culprits.

Earlier, in the day Malik and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi briefed the foreign envoys based in Islamabad on the latest position on investigations into the attacks.

“The diplomatic community has been briefed regarding investigation that reflects the strong resolve of the government to track down the terrorists,” Malik told reporters.

According to an official, “the envoys were told that Pakistan will not hand over any of the suspects named by India, but assured them of fair and transparent investigations that would lead to fair trial in the country”.

Several envoys also asked questions of both Qureshi and Malik about the investigations being carried out by Pakistan.

India, however, said not enough was being done.

“The efforts made by Pakistan till now on the 26/11 evidence handed over to it are an eyewash,” Indian Minister of State for Defence M.M. Pallam Raju was quoted as saying in New Delhi on the sidelines of a function.

“If they (Pakistan authorities) don’t do enough, we will do what is needed to be done to defend ourself,” he added in response to a specific question.

According to Raju, “the civilian government (in Pakistan) is not one of the most powerful. The civilian power-centre is not strong enough to act on its own. I don’t see them doing enough to bring the perpetrators to book.”

During the briefing, the Pakistani minister and advisor repeatedly said that they require more “information” and “evidence” from the Indian authorities.

Qureshi also called upon the envoys to urge India to resume the composite dialogue without any delay. “We believe all problems can be resolved through bilateral talks,” the official quoted a minister as telling the foreign envoys.

Malik said that his ministry has already directed the authorities to complete the investigations within 10 days.

“We are trying our best to complete the investigations as soon as possible but we expect that India would cooperate with us in this regard,” said Malik.

The foreign minister said investigations were moving forward according to specific strategy and Pakistan would try to satisfy India about these investigations.

Qureshi said Pakistan wants peace. “However, if a war was imposed, it would retaliate.”

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