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Pak should pursue leads provided by India: Boucher

Insisting that the Mumbai attackers had links "that lead to Pakistani soil," visiting US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher asks Islamabad to pursue leads provided by New Delhi and to track down the perpetrators. Listen to Podcastaudio | Do you think diplomatic pressure on Pakistan is yielding results? | Surfers' Response

world Updated: Jan 06, 2009 17:43 IST

Insisting that the Mumbai attackers had links "that lead to Pakistani soil," a visiting top US diplomat on Monday asked Islamabad to pursue leads provided by New Delhi and to track down the perpetrators.

Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher said it was "clear that the attackers had links that lead to Pakistani soil" though he did not give details.

The US wants Pakistan to investigate the information provided by India today, follow available leads and track down perpetrators so that similar attacks do not occur in future, he said.

India and Pakistan both had "pieces of the puzzle" and need to cooperate, Boucher told a news conference at the US embassy in Islamabad after talks with the country's top leadership.

"The two sides need to exchange information," he said, adding that India and Pakistan need to work together as this alone will ensure that the perpetrators of the attacks are tracked down.

The US had a "direct interest" in the probe as six of its citizens were killed in the Mumbai attacks, he said, adding, "We are interested that those responsible must be found".

The "scene of the crime" is in India and authorities there have made some arrests. At the same time, Pakistan had detained persons involved in the planning and execution of the attacks. Both sides will now have to follow up on the available information, Boucher said.

Replying to a question on whether the US believed Pakistan's state institutions, including the ISI, was linked
to the strike, Boucher said: "Let us find out from the evidence (handed over by India) who was involved in these attacks" and "not jump to conclusions". Both sides should follow up the evidence but no one should "jump to conclusions", he added.

Boucher appreciated some of the actions taken by the Pakistan government in the wake of the Mumbai attacks,
especially the banning of the Jamaat-ud-Dawah, arrest of some Lashker-e-Taiba members and closure of Jamaat offices.

These actions, he said, fitted in with "Pakistan's commitment to close down sources of terror operating from
its soil".

The US wants this action to continue, he said. "No one is going to be safe till these groups are eradicated," he added.

Boucher said that during his meetings with the Pakistani leadership, he had seen the "commitment and dedication" to find groups and individuals responsible for terror activities.

Replying to a question about regional tensions possibly sparking a war between Pakistan and India, Boucher said the "situation on the borders is calm". He said both countries should avoid taking any steps that could be "misinterpreted" by the other side.

Asked about the resolution of the dragging Kashmir dispute, Boucher said Pakistan and India have taken "great
strides" in improving their relations and he was hopeful that both countries will find a solution to the Kashmir issue.

India and Pakistan should take action against elements and groups that were misusing the Kashmir issue and causing tension between both countries, he said.

Boucher also said the US will remain engaged with Pakistan and help the country to reform its army, police and other security agencies. "We want democratic institutions to be stabilised," he said.

The US diplomat also visited the Marriott Hotel, which recently reopened after a devastating suicide car bomb attack in September last year that killed nearly 60 people, including two US Marines.