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Cooperation key to prosecuting Mumbai perpetrators: Qureshi


Islamabad : Holding that cooperation was the key to prosecuting the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attacks, Pakistan has reiterated it would soon share with India the results of its probe into the carnage that New Delhi blames on elements operating from this country.

“Realistically speaking, India and the rest of the countries are looking at us to see what action we take and we are moving forward in the right direction,” Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told reporters in Multan late Saturday, the second time during the day that he spoke on the issue.

“We will take India and the other countries into confidence by sharing the findings of the initial probe,” Qureshi added in remarks that were rather conciliatory given the rhetoric he has indulged in the past.

He also noted that cooperation between the two countries was essential if the perpetrators of the Mumbai assaults were to be brought to book.

Pakistan’s findings would be handed over to India through diplomatic channels and this would prove Pakistan’s sincerity in its efforts to defeat terrorism, the common enemy of the two countries, Qureshi said.

His comments came soon after Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said New Delhi was yet to formally hear about the outcome of Pakistan’s probe.

“The Pakistani High Commissioner (Shahid Malik) paid a courtesy call on the Home Minister (P. Chidambaram) on January 29, 2009. He did not provide any details on the results of the investigation in Pakistan into the Mumbai attacks,” Mukherjee said in New Delhi Saturday.

“We have also seen media reports about certain statements by various Pakistani officials on their ongoing investigations, including a certain reported clarification by the Pakistani Prime Minister (Yousuf Raza Gilani).

“I would like to underline that we have so far not received any official Pakistani response to the Indian dossier or official information on the outcome of their investigations. These are awaited,” Mukherjee maintained.

Replying to a question, he discounted a statement by Pakistan’s High Commissioner to Britain Wajid Shamsul Hasan on the planning of the Mumbai attacks, saying the remarks were made in haste.

Hasan had claimed that Pakistan’s probe into the attack had revealed they were planned outside the country.

Speaking of the need to resume the sub-continental peace process, Qureshi said Pakistan wanted such confidence-building measures (CBMs) that could benefit the people on both sides of Kashmir through trade and economic growth.

Meanwhile, The News daily Sunday noted that it was “unclear so far how India is going to respond to the decision to take it into confidence regarding the (Mumbai) probe”.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that to a considerable extent, India’s pre-poll politics are determining reactions,” it said in an editorial headlined “Search for solutions”.

“The ruling Congress party faces a challenge from harder-line groups and is anxious to make it clear it is not ‘soft’ on terror. Most predictions point to a ‘hung’ parliament in the future in India with all major parties jostling for power.

“But beyond the dynamic of India’s internal politics, Pakistan must also demand that it conduct investigations of its own to ascertain the truth behind the Mumbai bombings,” the editorial noted.

“Indications continue to surface” of a “strong home-based link” to the Mumbai carnage, the editorial said, adding that the attacks had also “become a basis for Indian hardliners to press home their advantage”.

Noting that Pakistan should ask India for details of its own investigations into the Mumbai attacks, the editorial said: “It seems obvious there is a nexus of some kind between groups operating in both countries. Discovering how it works would help both overcome the common menace of terror that we face.”