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No prejudicial evidence against LeT: Shaukat Aziz
July 29, 2006 04:02 IST
Last Updated: July 29, 2006 04:14 IST
Notwithstanding India's assertions about the Lashker-e-Tayiba's involvement in major terrorist strikes like the July 11 blasts in Mumbai, Pakistan has said it has no "prejudicial" evidence against the group.
Pointing out that the LeT is banned in Pakistan, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said, "We don't see any evidence of their activity that's prejudicial. We have done a lot to tranform some of these people."
Aziz, in an interview to Outlook magazine, bolstered his point by citing the relief work done by the Jamaat-ud-Daawa, the LeT's parent organisation, in the aftermath of the October 8, 2005 earthquake in the Kashmir region.
The LeT has been blamed by India for major terrorist strikes in the country, including the December 2001 attack on Parliament and the Mumbai blasts that killed 200 people.
Aziz also said Pakistan is yet to see "passion" on India's part to resolve outstanding issues like the Kashmir dispute, according to a release from the magazine.
"I believe you must have a passion for peace. We in Pakistan, President Musharraf and I, have a passion for peace. I have yet to see this passion on the part of India," he said.
Aziz said the resolution of the Kashmir issue is key to sustainable peace between India and Pakistan. "We have suggested several ideas for discussion on Kashmir... We feel that peace and solution of the Kashmir problem will transform South Asia," he said.
In the same issue of the magazine, Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri expressed disappointment at India's decision to defer foreign secretary-level talks between the two sides following the Mumbai bomb attacks.
"It's not a favour to us that you agree to a dialogue. We talk to India out of conviction, not fear," Kasauri said.
Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran is expected to meet his Pakistani counterpart Riaz Mohammed Khan in Dhaka in August on the sidelines of a SAARC Ministerial Conference, and New Delhi has made it clear that forward movement on the peace process would depend on practical action taken by Islamabad.
Kasuri expressed the hope that India would use the opportunity in Dhaka for pushing foward the peace process. "We were making progress on Siachen, on Kashmir. I hope the opportunity in Dhaka is not wasted," he said.
He also criticised the Indian media for what he called a campaign against Pakistan following the Mumbai attacks.
"Although you have a free media, I get the impression that your media is not as open and free as ours in attacking the establishment. We can't spin a story here and get away with it. Yet 30 seconds after the Mumbai blasts, you all start a chorus: Pakistan. Why?" he asked.