Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said he couldn’t rule out the possibility that the same group of terrorists that blasted Islamabad’s Marriott hotel in September was behind Mumbai’s 26/11 as well.
Talking to the Hindustan Times on Saturday morning, Qureshi said, however, that he was in no position to judge who could have been behind the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. The Foreign Minister said Islamabad would not “differentiate in the categories of terrorists” if it was found that Jamat-ud-Dawa chief, Hafiz Saeed, mentor and founder of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, was behind the Mumbai attacks.
“We will go after the terrorist no matter what cloak he wears, no matter which group he belongs to,” Qureshi, who cut short his visit to New Delhi, promised.
Was a joint India-Pakistan investigation into the latest carnage possible? “We have asked India to tell us what kind of assistance they need.”
Qureshi revealed that External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee had written a “detailed note” to him on the Mumbai attack, which would be handed over to the Pakistani side soon. “The note is on its way to me,” the Foreign Minister said.
“The Government of Pakistan will be as accommodating and cooperative as possible,” he stressed. “We face a common threat. We are both victims of terror.”
“We should pool in our resources, join hands, stay calm and stop pointing accusing fingers,” the Foreign Minister added.
Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, meanwhile, blamed miscommunication” with India for Islamabad seemingly going back on its promise to send the director-general of ISI to New Delhi and instead, said, a director-level officer would be sent.
Zardari claimed that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, during a telephonic talk with him on Friday, had requested for sending a “director”.
“There was a miscommunication... we had announced that a director will come from my side…That is what was requested by the Prime Minister and that is what we agreed,” the President told Karan Thapar’s Devil’s Advocate programme.
On Friday, an official statement from Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani said categorically that the ISI chief would be sent to India to help with the Indian investigation.
Following pressure from the Pakistan Army, and a late-night meeting between Army Chief Parvez Kayani, Zardari and Gilani, the decision was changed and now a “director-ranked” official would be sent.