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Pakistan mulls sending delegation to India to help in Mumbai terror probe

Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad | December 09, 2008 19:51 IST

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Pakistan is considering sending a high-level delegation, likely to be led by the Foreign Minister, to India as a gesture of moving forward in probing the Mumbai terrorist attacks for which New Delhi [Images] has blamed elements based in the country.
    
Pakistan formally made an offer on Monday to send the delegation to India "as soon as possible" while responding to a demarche handed over by India in the wake of the attacks.     

In its response, Pakistan also ruled out handing over three terrorists and criminals, including underworld don Dawood Ibrahim [Images], sought by India.
    
Diplomatic sources said the Pakistan government wished to send the delegation to India to gather evidence and information to carry forward the probe into the Mumbai attacks. The delegation could be led by the Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi or a top official like Mahmud Ali Durrani, Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security, the sources said.
    
Speaking to reporters in his hometown of Multan after the Eid prayers, Qureshi said, if necessary, he would visit India to explain Islamabad's [Images] position to New Delhi.
    
No dates have been fixed for the visit and Pakistan's Foreign Office is awaiting a response from India to its proposal to send the delegation, sources said.
    
The proposal to send the delegation to India follows Pakistan's crackdown on banned militant groups, including the
Lashker-e-Taiba, which has been linked to the Mumbai attacks that killed over 180 people.
    
More than 20 militants, including LeT commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the alleged mastermind of the Mumbai attacks, have been arrested during the crackdown, sources said.

Qureshi was in India at the time of the Mumbai attacks for talks with his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee.
    
He stayed back in India and was called back to Pakistan only after a hoax call to President Asif Ali Zardari [Images] by a man
pretending to be Mukherjee created fears in Islamabad about possible military action.
    
The hoax call sent the Pakistani security establishment into a tizzy and the air was cleared only after the Indian government made it clear to its Pakistani counterpart that New Delhi had not, in any way, threatened Islamabad.




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