Probe into Mumbai attack will be fair: Pakistan (Roundup)

January 19th, 2009 - 8:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad/New Delhi, Jan 19 (IANS) In a bid to address international demands to book the perpetrators of the Mumbai carnage, Pakistan Monday assured Islamabad-based foreign envoys of a fair and transparent probe into the attacks, even as India termed the investigations an “eyewash”.”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,” an official in Islamabad said after the envoys from almost all major countries were briefed by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Interior Ministry advisor Rehman Malik on the progress in the probe.

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 told reporters 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 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.”

The Islamabad official said that the briefing started from “the day when attacks were carried out in Mumbai and in almost over an hour, the envoys were told each and every thing till today.”

The briefing was based on the findings by Pakistani law enforcement agencies on the “information” provided by India.

During the briefing, 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.

The interior ministry has already formed a team of experts to investigate the Mumbai attacks in the light of the information provided by India.

New Delhi has blamed militants based in Pakistan for the Mumbai terror attacks Nov 26-29 in which over 170 people were killed.

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.

In response to a question about the deadline for completing the investigation and India’s demand for speedy investigations, Malik said that it would be difficult to give exact deadline but the initial report will be submitted within ten days.

He said Pakistan is cooperating with India wholeheartedly, and it is ready to take action against the culprits, if proved guilty of the charges being levelled by India.

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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