Pakistan has rejected India's demand for extradition of the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attacks even as the US reportedly favoured the suspects being punished inside this country.
"There is no extradition treaty between India and Pakistan. We are keen on rebuilding our internal institutions. So if we engage in these issues, it will be harmful for Pakistan," Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told Geo TV.
The minister was asked whether India and the US have made demands for handing over terror suspects -- Lashkar-e-Toiba operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azar and Hafiz Mohammed Saeed.
Qureshi's remarks assume significance in the wake of External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday saying that there was no need for an Extradition Treaty to take action on these matters.
The Dawn newspaper meanwhile quoted US sources as saying that Bush administration is asking Pakistan to ensure that those responsible for the Mumbai terror attacks are punished inside the country instead of being extradited to India.
The Bush administration has informed the Pakistan government that it would like it to initiate "prosecution with sufficient efforts to ensure conviction" of those behind the Mumbai carnage, it said.
This indicates a "clear change" in the attitude of the US, which earlier had backed the Indian demand that some of the suspects be extradited to India, the newspaper said.
The change apparently has been noticed in New Delhi, where External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said yesterday that the US pressure on Pakistan to act against the Mumbai perpetrators had "not produced tangible returns", the newspaper said.