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Pak terms case against Saeed 'half-baked'; seeks better ties

world Updated: Sep 27, 2009 19:39 IST

Facing flak for inaction against Mumbai attack perpetrators, including Hafiz Mohd Saeed, Pakistan on Sunday said it does not want to take to court a "half- baked" case against the JuD chief in the absence of "legally tenable" evidence and asked India not to hold back the ties on a single issue.

"The question is how do we move beyond this point. The relationship cannot be held or brought to a standstill because of a trial or one investigation," Pakistan Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir told PTI after his talks with his Indian counterpart Nirupama Rao in New York.

Pakistan, he said, has nothing to hide. "In fact, we have been very forthcoming on the quality of the work that has been done by our experts in terms of investigations and the arrests etc, and all that has been shared with India," he said.

His remarks came as External Affairs Minister S M Krishna and his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi are set to meet here later tonight for crucial talks.

Hours ahead of his talks with Krishna on the margins of the UN General Assembly session, Qureshi said Pakistan did not want to take to court a "half-baked" case against Saeed.

"We will certainly not hesitate for taking action (against Saeed), but we got to have a case which is legally tenable because if we take a case into court which is a half-baked case and if the court sets him free, you'll say 'collusion', 'drama'. No we are not in a mood to collude with terrorists," he told NDTV.

During the nearly two hour-long discussions between Rao and Bashir, the Indian side maintained that they want Pakistan to act speedily and in a transparent manner against those responsible for the heinous 26/11 attacks.

"The Indian side asked for concerted action and the need to complete the process of investigation of the Mumbai attacks because the conspiracy emanated from Pakistan," Indian officials told PTI. "There is a need to bring the investigation to a satisfactory conclusion."

The Rao-Bashir talks marked the first high-level contact between the two countries since the Prime Ministers of the two countries met at Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, on July 16.

The meeting took place amid India's disappointment over the tardy progress of Pakistan's probe into the Mumbai attacks and its prosecution of the culprits.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has also made it clear that Pakistan must stop using terrorism as an instrument of state policy if it wanted normal relations with India.

Pakistan also appears to be under tremendous pressure from the US and its allies to ensure that it convincingly addresses India's concerns on terrorism, including Mumbai attacks, and does nothing that derails all efforts to revive the bilateral peace process.

President Asif Ali Zardari and Qureshi, who met several world leaders including US President Barack Obama here, were told in no uncertain terms that Pakistan could no longer afford to have two different standards for terrorists - one for terrorists targeting the West and other for terrorists who use Pakistani soil against India, sources said.