A week after India handed over a fresh dossier on the 26/11 strikes, Pakistan on Friday said New Delhi should provide "legally tenable evidence" to help Islamabad prosecute the persons arrested in connection with the audacious attacks on Mumbai.
"India should help in providing legally tenable evidence so that it is easy for us to take the prosecution to its logical conclusion," Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.
He was responding to a question on charges traded by the two countries on information provided by India on the Mumbai attacks.
"They (India) want the pace of prosecution to be speeded up. We are telling them that our courts are independent, and we have our own legal procedure which we have to follow," he said.
His comments come a week after India handed over a fourth set of dossier to Pakistan containing detailed information about the investigation and legal evidence regarding the attacks carried out by Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba outfit.
Five Lashker-e-Taiba operatives – including operations commander Zaikur Rehman Lakhvi and communications expert Zarar Shah – are currently being tried by an anti-terror court for allegedly facilitating and executing the Mumbai attacks. (MORE)
Qureshi said the prosecution and defence would present their arguments in the anti-terror court, which would then decide if the suspects are guilty. "As far as the prosecution is concerned, legally tenable evidence is needed," he said.
In recent days, the two countries have traded charges over the dossiers and information provided by India on the attacks. India has insisted that it has provided enough evidence for Pakistan to act against the LeT and its founder Hafiz Mohammed Saeed.
Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said yesterday that Pakistan could not take legal action against Saeed on the basis of information provided so far by India.
Qureshi said the two countries were yet to decide on a date and venue for the next meeting between their Foreign Secretaries.
The Foreign Secretaries would report to the Foreign Ministers, who would meet in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in September, he said.
He also said Pakistan was not being "defensive" on the issue of alleged Indian interference in Balochistan province. "On the issue of Balochistan, the Foreign Office believes diplomatic channels should be used...I want to take this issue to a conclusion," he said.
Evidence about alleged Indian interference could be disclosed at the right time, Qureshi added.
Earlier, addressing the seminar, Qureshi said the joint statement issued after the meeting between Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh in Egypt last month "reaffirms Pakistan's commitment to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks to justice".
The joint statement also "acknowledges that terror is the main threat to both countries and affirms their resolve to cooperate with each other", he said.