Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has admitted that more than one of the 26/11 Mumbai attackers "may" be Pakistanis, but says the mayhem had "significant support from within India itself".
"Our investigation into the Mumbai attacks is continuing. Some of these terrorists may in fact have been born in Pakistan," Zardari said in an interview to The Independent published Wednesday.
"But we believe that this operation was international, with significant support from within India itself," he added.
Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone terrorist arrested during the Nov 26-29 Mumbai mayhem, has admitted to being a Pakistani national, a fact that has been confirmed by the country's Interior Minister Rehman Malik.
Pakistan is, however, silent on the identities of the nine other terrorists who were killed during the attacks and whose bodies are still lying in a Mumbai morgue. India says it has submitted DNA evidence and other proof pointing to the Pakistani nationalities of the dead men.
Zardari also brushed aside Indian complaints that Pakistan was not doing enough to bring to book the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks that claimed over 170 lives, including those of 26 foreigners.
"I think the Indian government is not dissatisfied with the level of our cooperation. We have offered to help, and we have helped," the president said.
Noting that there had been "substantial arrests of people within groups that may have been involved in the Mumbai attacks", Zardari added: "But we need cooperation from India to build the case for effective prosecution of these accused in our courts."
Pakistan has named eight men for their alleged role in the Mumbai attacks. Six have been arrested and one is at large. Kasab is the eighth.
Zardari also thought that "many" of the extremists "are the same people" who conduct terrorist acts in Pakistan.
"Mumbai was attacked and we condemn it. But let us remember that every day Pakistan is attacked by terrorists. They destroyed our Marriott hotel in Islamabad and killed over 50 people," the president pointed out.
Saying that Pakistan will "cooperate" with all nations, "including our neighbours" in identifying and pursuing terrorists "wherever and whoever they are", Zardari added: "We will prosecute them and we will punish them upon conviction.
"Remember, this is OUR war. Our children and women are dying, and hundreds of our soldiers have been killed. Pakistan above all nations on earth is in the trenches of the war against these fanatics and terrorists. Our very existence is at stake," he contended.