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09 Feb 2009 15:42
Pakistan said on Monday that its investigators needed more information from India to complete an investigation into the Mumbai attacks, and will convey a request for further details to New Delhi shortly.
The announcement was made after Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani chaired a meeting of Cabinet ministers and top army brass to discuss a preliminary report into “evidence” from India linking “elements” in Pakistan to the attacks.
“The meeting, however, observed that without substantial evidence from India it will be exceedingly difficult to complete the investigation and proceed with the case,” the statement said.
“In order to complete the investigation the questions which are arising from the inquiry carried out by the FIA [Federal Investigation Agency] need to be answered by the Indian authorities.
“These will be communicated to the Indian authorities shortly,” it added.
The November assault on India’s financial capital, when 10 gunmen killed 165 people during a 60-hour siege, has led to a furious blame game that has sharply escalated tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours.
New Delhi blamed the attacks on the banned militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, which is active in Indian-ruled Kashmir, but the Pakistan-based organisation has denied responsibility.
In January, India handed Gilani’s government what it said was evidence linking “elements” in Pakistan to the November atrocity, but Pakistan has insisted that India provided only some information and no evidence.
Monday’s statement said that a case would be registered domestically on the recommendation of the interior ministry—but did not specify against who or how many people or on what charges.
“The case should be registered and further investigation be carried out so that the perpetrators, wherever they may be, of the heinous crime are brought to justice in accordance with the law of the land,” it said.
Gilani has said that anyone found guilty in Pakistan in connection with the Mumbai attacks would be punished under Pakistani law.
India last Thursday for the first time directly accused Pakistan’s military intelligence agency of involvement in the Mumbai attacks.
Pakistan slammed the allegations as “yet another manifestation of undisguised hostility” that was “part of a global smear campaign” and “inconsistent with the established norms of diplomatic parlance”.
Pakistan has come under sharp Western pressure to prosecute those suspected of being involved in the attacks and was last week urged to go “further and faster” in that regard by British Foreign Secretary David Miliband.
Pakistan has confirmed that the lone surviving Mumbai gunman, in Indian custody, is one of its citizens.
A four-year peace process to resolve the Indo-Pakistani dispute over the Himalayan region of Kashmir, which each rules in part but both claim in full, was put on hold after the Mumbai attacks.—AFP
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