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Zardari rules out handing over Mumbai suspects to India

world Updated: Jul 11, 2010 02:42 IST

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari on Saturday ruled out handing over the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks to India but said the "non-state actors" who derailed the Indo-Pak rapprochement will "hopefully" be brought to justice in his country.

Zardari, who concluded a five-day visit to China, told the state-run CCTV in an interview that Pakistanis involved in the Mumbai attacks cannot be handed over to India as there was no extradition treaty between the two countries.

"I do not think it works like that between two nations. There has to be bilateral treaties of that sort which do not exist between us. But we are trying those people in Pakistan. Hopefully we will bring the offenders to justice," he said.

He said the non-state actors who attacked Mumbai had succeeded in derailing the India-Pak peace process, but hoped India's "mature democracy" would show "foresight" in taking forward the resumed talks.

"I will remind you that when the incident of Bombay took place my Foreign Minister was in Delhi trying to sign a treaty with the Indians for a rapprochement, in that we had the concept of fighting terrorists together also," he said.

However, the "non-state actors" managed to stall it for some time, he said.

"Now I think it is back on track and hopefully will go forward," he said, insisting that Pakistan wants to be friends with all its neighbours.

"India is (our) neighbour, (a) large neighbour. We are from the same South Asia (background). Hopefully we both work it out in a mature fashion and come together," he said.

He said Pakistan, as a "younger democracy" was always willing to appreciate India's "mature democracy" and expects the latter to have "a mature posture and foresight better than ours".

"But in any case we will do our part to make sure that the future for the coming generations is better that the one we inherited," he said.

Zardari, however, refused to give a clear response on Pakistan's opposition to India having a more active role in Afghanistan.

He merely said Afghanistan is a sovereign country and "I am not in a position to encourage or discourage".

There has been concern in Pakistan over India's growing influence in Afghanistan.

Asked if Pakistan believed the US was adopting double standards in trying to have a relationship with both India and Pakistan and whether Islamabad was not comfortable with this, Zardari said: "we compliment that (triangular) relationship".

He pointed out that Pakistan did not oppose India's civil nuclear deal with the US.