Talks should not be held hostage to 26/11: Gilani

The peace process between India and Pakistan should not be held hostage to the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Sunday in the run-up to a meeting between Foreign Secretaries of the two countries.
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Updated on Jan 23, 2011 07:54 PM IST
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PTI | By, Lahore

The peace process between India and Pakistan should not be held hostage to the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Sunday in the run-up to a meeting between Foreign Secretaries of the two countries.

Gilani contended that his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh is facing public pressure for not resuming dialogue with Pakistan. "But we should not held hostage by (the Mumbai incident)," he said, during an interaction with representatives of the foreign media at his residence here.

Diplomatic efforts, both on the "back and front channels," were underway with India "to find a peaceful solution" to the dragging Kashmir issue, Gilani said without giving details.

Asked about the possibility of the resumption of the composite dialogue that was suspended by India in the wake of the Mumbai attacks, Gilani said there were "50-50 chances" of this happening.

Responding to a question about the lawsuit filed in a US court by relatives of two Jewish victims of the Mumbai attacks, Gilani said the Inter-Services Intelligence agency is authorised to decide whether to defend its officials named in the case.

"It is up to the ISI to decide (about this matter) and the government will fully support it," he said.

The Brooklyn court has issued summons to current ISI chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha, his predecessor Nadeem Taj and Lashker-e-Taiba operatives, including the terror group's founder Hafiz Muhammed Saeed, in connection with the case.

Gilani had earlier said in parliament that no force could pressure the ISI chief to appear in the US court.

Asked whether the government would defend Saeed in the US lawsuit, Gilani said: "We will decide according to the law and nobody is above the law."

Saeed has filed a petition in the Lahore High Court, asking it to direct the federal government to appoint a counsel to defend him in the American court.

Saeed contended that he had the right to seek legal aid from the government following its decision to defend the ISI officials.

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