Pakistan’s ‘no’ to war with India, to respond to evidence (Roundup)January 12th, 2009 - 7:27 pm ICT by IANS
Islamabad, Jan 12 (IANS) Pakistan Monday ruled out a war with India over the Mumbai terror attack, even as a leading columnist said it was yet to respond to the Indian evidence linking Pakistanis to the mass slaughter.Holding that the two countries and their people cannot afford another conflict, a key aide to Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said: “I don’t see any chances of war. Both (India and Pakistan) want peace in the region that is imperative for the development of their people.”
The aide, Rehman Malik, was speaking to reporters in London after meeting Mutahidda Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Altaf Hussain, who lives in exile.
Malik is to meet British officials on the tension in South Asia, official sources said. He is to meet Home Secretary Jacqui Smith to share Pakistan’s response to the evidence India has provided on the deadly Nov 26-29 Mumbai attacks that killed around 170 people.
Media reports said that Malik stressed the need for joint efforts by Pakistan and India to fight terror and that Islamabad was ready to fully cooperate with New Delhi.
He said terrorism was damaging to both Pakistan and India and they needed to work together to meet the challenge.
Writing about the evidence India has furnished regarding the Pakistani links to the Mumbai massacre, columnist Amir Mir wrote in The News daily Monday: “The Pakistani authorities were still examining the dossier and their reaction was expected shortly.”
Mir appeared to contradict Gilani, who had said Friday that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency had given its feedback to New Delhi about the Mumbai attacks.
According to the dossier, “the evidence gathered so far unmistakably points to the territory of Pakistan as a source of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. It is abundantly clear that senior functionaries of the Lashkar-e-Taiba were the controllers/handlers of the 10 terrorists”, Mir wrote.
“The evidence clearly establishes that the terrorists were chosen, trained, dispatched, controlled and guided by the Lashkar, which is the organisation responsible for terrorist attacks in Mumbai.”
In the second section of the dossier, Mir wrote, “India has pointed out the contradictory nature of the Pakistani response to the Mumbai attacks, Islamabad’s failure to respond appropriately to Indian requests for cooperation when evidence was provided in the past about terrorist acts, and an outline of Pakistani bilateral and international commitments and obligations to take the terrorists to task.
“The third and last section of the dossier contains an outline of what the Indian government expects Islamabad to do in the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks,” Mir wrote.
“This was a conspiracy launched from Pakistan. Gaps in knowledge can be filled by investigation and interrogation of conspirators there,” the dossier concluded.
Commenting on the frostiness in Pakistan-India ties in the wake of the Mumbai terror, Dawn newspaper said in an editorial: “Given the vitriolic exchanges between the two governments, the need of the hour is to moderate their tone to improve the political climate in South Asia if the peace process is to be revived.
“Both sides, one can presume, understand the importance of negotiating their disputes. But it is a pity that leaders on both sides have allowed political expediencies to determine the course of events,” Dawn said.
It also urged Gilani to “work earnestly to put an end to the war of words that has devastated the atmospherics in the region.
“This would call for a tacit understanding with India requiring both governments to stop playing to the gallery and refraining from negotiating in the glare of media publicity,” Dawn said.
India has said that all 10 terrorists who sneaked into Mumbai by sea and went on a killing spree were Pakistanis. Islamabad initially denied this but later accepted that the lone terrorist caught in Mumbai was indeed a Pakistani. All other terrorists were killed.