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'No firm proof that Mumbai attackers were from Pak'

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari says that there is still no firm proof that the terrorists who attacked Mumbai came from Pakistan. Road to recovery

world Updated: Dec 18, 2008 08:11 IST

In a U turn, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari tonight said there is still no firm proof that the terrorists who attacked Mumbai came from Pakistan nor had it been established that the arrested terrorist Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab came from the country's Punjab province.

"Have you seen any evidence to that effect. I have definitely not seen any real evidence to that effect," Zardari told BBC in an interview.

Zardari, who earlier acknowledged that the perpetrators of the Mumbai massacre could be 'non-state' actors from Pakistan, made these remarks while responding to a question on assertions from India, US, Britain and other countries that the ten terrorists who struck at Mumbai came from Pakistan.

On being told that the British prime minister Gordon Brown as well as Indian and Western Intelligence agencies had stated that the Mumbai attack had originated from Pakistan, Zardari said "Investigation is an evolving process. It has not been long enough for anybody to ...Even the foreign minister of India has said they are still investigating. I think we will hold that judgement till proper investigation and conclusive evidence is shared between Pakistan and India. We are hoping that will happen because we have asked for a joint investigation."

About Kasab and the admission by his father living in Faridkot village in Pakistan's Punjab province that he was indeed his son, Zardari said "we are investigating that position. There are disputed positions in the Press. Some say what you say and some say to the contrary. So I would say the investigation is ongoing. I would not jump to a conclusion."

Zardari said Islamabad was prepared to act if adequate evidence of any Pakistan complicity in the attacks emerged. "If that stage comes, and when it comes, I assure you that our parliament, our democracy, shall take the action properly deemed in our constitution and in our law," he said.

The President also said that Hafeez Sayeed, the leader of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa charity, would remain under house arrest.

"Let me assure you that if there is any investigation to be found pointing towards his involvement in any form of terrorism, he shall be tried for that reason," Zardari said. JuD is accused of being a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba, blamed for the Mumbai terror attacks.

Zardari said that while he was not in denial about LeT's continued activities, "when you ban an organisation they emerge in some other form."