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India inconsistent on Mumbai probe: Pakistan

Pakistan today accused India of inconsistency on the probe into the Mumbai terror strikes, even as it said it would share with New Delhi the result of its investigations into the carnage.

world Updated: Jan 17, 2009 21:07 IST

Pakistan on Saturday accused India of inconsistency on the probe into the Mumbai terror strikes, even as it said it would share with New Delhi the result of its investigations into the carnage.

"There is an inconsistency in India's stand. There is a flip-flop," Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told reporters in Multan.

The information received from India on the Nov 26-29 carnage was "being examined and we will share the results (of the probe) first with India. We are pursuing cooperative engagement with India", Qureshi maintained.

"We have to move forward realistically," the minister added.

India has blamed the Mumbai mayhem that claimed over 170 lives, including 26 foreigners, on elements operating from Pakistan. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has also pointed a finger at state entities in this country supporting terror groups.

India on Saturday kept up the pressure on Pakistan to bring to book those behind the horrific attacks, with Manmohan Singh saying he expected Islamabad to act swiftly on the evidence provided by his government.

"We have shared the evidence that we have gathered so far on the incidents with Pakistan and others. Pakistan has admitted that the arrested terrorist is their national," the Indian prime minister said at The Economic Times Awards function in Mumbai.

"We expect Pakistan to take all the consequent next steps against all those who have planned, organised and executed these horrific crimes," he told the event at the sea-facing Trident Hotel - one of the 10 places targeted during the terror strikes.

Manmohan Singh, in fact, started his speech after asking the assembled guests to observe a minute's silence as a mark of respect for those who lost their lives in what he described as "horrific act".

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, during a visit to New Delhi earlier this week, had ruled out the involvement of a Pakistani state group in the Mumbai attack, even as he held the Lashkar-e-Taiba terror group responsible, saying Islamabad must act against the banned outfit.

Qureshi also pointed out that the interior ministry was not only examining the Indian dossier but had also set-up a high-powered committee of "three reputable officers" to take the probe forward.

The minister also promised a "free and fair trial" of any Pakistanis involved in the Mumbai strikes.

"I can assure you that the trial will be completely free and fair and will be conducted under our own laws," Qureshi maintained.

In this context, he also pointed out that Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee had stated that New Delhi would be satisfied if the trial were conducted in Pakistan.

Qureshi's comments came on the day President Asif Ali Zardari urged India to respond positively to the Pakistan's offer of a joint investigation into the Mumbai attacks, and another minister said its probe into the mayhem was on the basis of evidence New Delhi had furnished.

"Pakistan has seriously engaged itself in conducting an investigation into the Mumbai violence," Zardari said during a meeting with Pakistan's envoy to India Shahid Malik.

If any Pakistani was found involved in the crime, he would be tried under the country's own laws, the president added.

India, Zardari maintained, should observe patience and that it will informed about the results of the investigation, adding that the two countries should jointly counter the menace of terrorism.

On his part, Rehman Malik, the prime minister's adviser on the interior, said Pakistan's probe into the Mumbai attacks was being conducted on the basis of the evidence India had provided.

"Let me say, and I repeat this, our enquiry is being conducted on the basis of evidence India has provided," Malik told reporters in Islamabad on Saturday.

On Friday, Pakistan had officially informed India that it has launched its investigations into the Mumbai attacks.

Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir gave the information to Indian High Commissioner Satyabrata Pal at a meeting held here at the Foreign Office.

According to a statement by the Foreign Office spokesman, the foreign secretary said that an official inquiry has already been launched as announced by the Pakistani prime minister in his address to the National Assembly on Jan 13.

The three-member probe panel will be headed by Additional Director General of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Javed Iqbal, and comprises counter-terrorism experts Khalid Qureshi and Liaquat Ali Khan.

The panel has been given 10 days to complete its probe.

First Published: Jan 17, 2009 21:03 IST