Respond to offer of joint probe: Zardari

January 17th, 2009 - 9:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghIslamabad, Jan 17 (IANS) President Asif Ali Zardari Saturday urged India to respond positively to the Pakistan’s offer of a joint investigation into the Mumbai attacks, even as Islamabad said its probe into the mayhem was on the basis of evidence New Delhi had furnished.”Pakistan has seriously engaged itself in conducting an investigation into the Mumbai violence,” Zardari said during a meeting with Pakistan’s envoy to India Shahid Malik.

If any Pakistani was found involved in the crime, he would be tried under the country’s own laws, the president added. India has blamed elements from India in the Nov 26-29 Mumbai terror strikes that claimed the lives of over 170 people, including 26 foreigners, and injured more than 300.

India, Zardari maintained, should observe patience and that it will informed about the results of the investigation, adding that the two countries should jointly counter the menace of terrorism.

On his part, Rehman Malik, the prime minister on the interior, said Pakistan’s probe into the Mumbai attacks was being conducted on the basis of the evidence India had provided.

“Let me say, and I repeat this, our enquiry is being conducted on the basis of evidence India haas provided,” Malik told reporters here Saturday.

On Friday, Pakistan had officially informed India that it has launched its investigations into the Mumbai attacks.

Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir gave the information to Indian High Commissioner Satyabrata Pal at a meeting held here at the Foreign Office.

According to a statement by the Foreign Office spokesman, the foreign secretary said that an official inquiry has already been launched as announced by the Pakistani prime minister in his address to the National Assembly on Jan 13.

Pakistan has formed a three-member committee to probe the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.

Interior ministry officials said the committee has been asked to complete the probe “as soon as possible”. However, the panel will submit weekly reports to senior officials.

The committee, if required, will also communicate with Indian officials in charge of the Mumbai attack investigations.

Pakistan has been under tremendous pressure from the Indian government and the international community to hold a fair and transparent probe into the attacks that India maintains were triggered and masterminded by militant elements in Pakistan.

Salman Bashir also conveyed to the Indian High Commissioner the sequence and series of actions initiated by Pakistan in pursuance of its international obligations as well as those relating to the Mumbai terrorist attacks, said a statement.

“The foreign secretary mentioned that it was important for Pakistan and India to chart the way forward on anti-terrorism cooperation as well as the imperative need for an across the board constructive bilateral engagement,” said the statement.

Bashir also handed over a letter written by Prime Minister Gilani in response to the New Year’s greetings received from Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The three-member panel is to be headed by Additional Director General of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Javed Iqbal, and comprises counter-terrorism experts Khalid Qureshi and Liaquat Ali Khan.

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