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December 16, 2001
2359 IST

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Pak rejects Delhi police claim; wants joint inquiry

K J M Varma in Islamabad

Rejecting Delhi police's contention that Pakistani militants were involved in the terrorist attack on Parliament, Pakistan on Sunday suggested a joint probe into the suicide attack.

Reacting to Delhi Police Commissioner Ajay Raj Sharma's announcement that investigations into the attack revealed the involvement of militants of Pakistan-based militant outfit Jaish-e-Muhammad, Pakistan's defence spokesman Maj Gen Rashid Qureshi said, "India is jumping to hasty conclusions without the conducting a preliminary inquiry."

Accusing India of making 'irresponsible' statements, he said Pakistan wanted a joint inquiry by Indian and Pakistani investigators.

"We would like to assist the joint inquiry into the attack. Pakistan will take firm action if anybody is found involved in the attack and if credible evidence was provided by India," Qureshi said.

Significantly, the demand did not figure in Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's interview to Pakistan Television on Saturday in which he said, "We would surely expect proof and evidence of involvement of any group in Pakistan in the terrorist act."

The demand did not figure in its reply to the demarche, handed over by Foreign Secretary Chokila Iyer to Pakistan High Commissioner Qazi Ashraf Jahangir on Friday, either.

In its reply handed over to the acting Indian High Commissioner and Counsellor Vishnu Prakash on Saturday, Pakistan condemned the attack on Parliament and sought credible evidence from India about involvement of Pakistani individuals and groups in the incident.

Pakistan said that after receiving the evidence from India it would examine and conduct its own investigations into the evidence and take appropriate action. At the same time, it asked India not take any hasty action before handing over the evidence to Pakistan.

Complete Coverage: The Attack on Parliament

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