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Pak denies ISI's hand in Kabul attack

Rejecting India's claim that ISI was behind the attack, Pak FM says relations between the two nations are improving and it has nothing to gain by curtailing it.
By HT Correspondent | PTI, Washington
UPDATED ON JUL 14, 2008 03:19 AM IST

Rejecting India's claim that the country's spy agency was behind the suicide attack on its embassy in Kabul last week, Pakistan on Sunday said it had no interest in whipping up that kind of an environment.

National Security Advisor MK Narayanan had on Saturday claimed that India had a "fair amount" of intelligence inputs about Pakistan's involvement in last week's suicide attack on its embassy in Kabul.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said relations between Islamabad and New Delhi are improving and the country had nothing to gain by curtailing it.

"No, I think Pakistan ...(relations?) are on the mend. They are on a very even keel. They are improving. I've had very good interaction in Delhi. The foreign minister of India was in Pakistan. We are moving in the right direction. And we have nothing to gain by creating that environment," Qureshi told CNN's late edition.

"... I want to assure you that Pakistan is doing whatever it can to be supportive. We feel that we have interest in a peaceful and stable Afghanistan. It is in our enlightened self interest check the cross-border movement in order to have peace."

"But my view is that it's a bit of exaggeration to just pass the buck to Pakistan. There are serious internal issues in Afghanistan," the Pakistani minister added.

When asked if an agreement has been reached with the Taliban in the tribal areas in which Pakistani military and intelligence forces will basically step aside, Qureshi said, "No, we are not stepping aside. We are not withdrawing."

"The forces will be there. We are pursuing a policy of political engagement but that does not mean that we will capitulate in front of terrorists. We will not negotiate. We will not talk to the terrorists. And if required, we will use force and we have used force in (earlier) operations," he said.

Qureshi said Pakistan has no idea on the whereabouts of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden but stressed that it "certainly" would like to nab him.

He said that Pakistan would like to have information from those who say bin Laden is in the tribal areas of Pakistan so that "...We could collectively go and get him".

"There are elements of Al Qaeda that we are dealing with and we are using all our resources to fight them. We feel that this fight is not an alien fight.

"It is a fight that we believe in. It's a fight to protect our way of life. We have certain values and the Taliban, the Al Qaeda do not uphold the values that we believe in," Qureshi said.

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