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India must stop the 'blame game': Pakistan

January 07, 2009 01:23 IST

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India and Pakistan should cooperate in fighting the common threat of terrorism instead of engaging in any sort of blame game over the Mumbai terror attacks [Images], Pakistan Information Minister Sherry Rehman has said.

"We need to grow out of the blame game. Scoring points will only move us further away from focusing on the very real and present danger of regional and global terrorism," she said on the sidelines of a function to mark the birth anniversary of Pakistan People's Party founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

Rehman claimed India's leadership had made contradictory statements on the involvement of Pakistani agencies in the Mumbai attacks.

"It is our firm resolve to ensure that non-State actors do not use Pakistani soil to launch terrorist attacks anywhere in the world," she said, adding the country has initiated its own investigations into the Mumbai incident.

Rehman also said Pakistan did not 'want war but if war is imposed on us, we will respond to defend our motherland'.

The PPP-led government is following the ideology of slain former premier Benazir Bhutto [Images], who always wanted regional cooperation and a better life for the people, she said.

On the evidence provided by India on the Mumbai terror attack, Rehman said: "We have received evidence (from India). It's been after a while. We appreciate it. We are not only processing it but also conducting our own investigations, which are going quite well."

The Pakistan Information Minister, however, declined to give a time-frame for the investigations.

'It's not a question of how much time it takes, it's a question of how much we can achieve. What we are looking at is not just the post-Mumbai situation, we are looking at getting to the root and branch of this menace which afflicts not just the region but Pakistan,' Rehman told a TV channel, adding, 'It is in our own core interest to be ensuring that militants, extremists and terrorists don't use Pakistan's soil for launching attacks on either any neighbour in the region, or Pakistan itself or anywhere in the world.'

However, the minister evaded a query on Pakistan seeking consular access to Kasab [Images], saying: 'I think we need to have access to the scene of the crime itself, and usually in all investigations of all natures, that particular site, even if it's a city, is of primary value for all investigations. I think that we can proceed forward for far more productive outcomes if we seek to work together, pool our resources and information and actionable intelligence.'

'We don't need a war of words emanating from either country.'




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