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December 14, 2001
1723 IST

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Govt blames LeT for Parliament attack,
asks Pak to restrain terrorist outfits

The government on Friday blamed the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Tayiba for Thursday's terrorist attack on the Parliament House complex saying it has 'credible evidence' and formally asked Islamabad to arrest the leadership of LeT and another militant outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad and freeze the organisations' assets.

However, the Lashkar-e-Tayiba denied any involvement in the incident.

Earlier in the day, in a significant development, Pakistan High Commissioner Ashraf Jehangir Qazi was on Friday summoned by Foreign Secretary Chokila Iyer and made out a demarche setting out the three demands, which included stopping of the activities of the two organisations.

In the demarche, India has demanded that Pakistan stop the activities of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammed.

Secondly, their leadership, which is known to Pakistan, should be taken into custody and thirdly, to put curbs on the financial assets of these groups and their access to these assets.

"There is credible technical evidence that Thursday's terrorist attack on the seat of democracy and sovereignty of Indian people was the handiwork of a terrorist organisation based in Pakistan - Lashkar-e-Tayiba," External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh told reporters in Delhi.

Asked to expand on what was meant by technical evidence, he said there were 'obvious difficulties' in explaining this as many agencies of the government have many means of obtaining intelligence.

Singh said New Delhi wishes to emphasise that the demands in the demarche were in accordance with necessary international obligations and commitment in countering terrorism.

"This technical intelligence is entirely credible," he added.

He said along with the US, some other countries have been given information about the technical intelligence.

To a question whether India would pass on the evidence to Pakistan if it is sought, he said, "It really is a decision that will have to be weighed against the requirements and the interest of the agencies that collect technical intelligence."

To a pointed question on whether India has any evidence of the Pakistan government's involvement in any manner in Thursday's attack, Singh said one had to reflect on the origins of LeT, its funding and patronage of both Let and JeM.

Asked what would be the next step if Islamabad chose to ignore the demarche, he said diplomatic demarche are not ignored.

"Pakistan asserts that it is with the rest of the international community in its fight against terrorism, that it does not promote or encourage terrorism. It is our expectation that it will certainly abide by what it says itself," he said.

Later, to a question whether the Indian government had set a deadline for Islamabad to act on the demarche, an external affairs ministry spokesperson said, "We have not set a deadline but we expect them to act early."

Clarifying that it was a verbal demarche, she recalled that a similar demarche was given after the October one attack on the Jammu and Kashmir assembly complex in Srinagar.

Asked whether a team of America's Federal Bureau of Investigation was in Delhi in connection with Thursday's attack, she said, "No FBI team has come."

India is in touch with a number of countries on the terrorist attack in Parliament, she said when asked about the support from various nations on the issue.

PTI

Complete Coverage: The Attack on Parliament

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