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Pak taking Indian dossier very 'seriously'

January 24, 2009 19:55 IST

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Pakistan is taking India's dossier on the Mumbai terror attacks [Images] "extremely seriously" and will "have to act fast" to complete its probe, Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani [Images] has said.

"The dossier passed on to the government of Pakistan, we are taking it extremely seriously, and we have already started (an) investigation and the results will come soon," he told the Financial Times daily in an interview.

Gilani also hinted that Pakistan could consider the option of extraditing terror suspects to India if relations between the two countries were normalised.

Replying to a question on whether he would ever agree to extradition of terror suspects to India, he said: "So far there is no such thing. But that depends on our normalisation of relations."

Asked how quickly the Pakistani investigation into the Mumbai attacks will proceed, Gilani replied, "I don't want to step into the domain of the Interior Ministry but at the same time we have to act fast."

The Premier said he had also spoken to his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh [Images] about extending full cooperation for further intelligence sharing. "And even for getting to the culprits, we'll be needing their assistance," he said.

If any culprits are detected during the Pakistani investigation, the government will "proceed according to the law and we will ensure...that justice will be done", he said.

The Indo-Pak ties nose-dived in the wake of the Mumbai attacks that killed over 180 people. India blamed Pakistan-based elements for masterminding and coordinating the attacks.

After weeks of denial, Pakistan recently acknowledged that Ajmal Amir Kasab [Images], the lone terrorist arrested in India during the attacks, is a Pakistani national.

Asked if it was his understanding that the attacks were launched from Pakistan, Gilani said: "No, this is not the issue because the government of India doesn't blame the government (of Pakistan), they don't even blame the organisations, institutions. They were only pointing out to the individuals, and individuals, those people, are from every part of the world."

Gilani described the New Year's greetings and peace message he had recently received from Prime Minister Singh as "a good sign".

"But the people of India and the world and of course, us, we also want to see some actions...when India will see that our intention and our investigations, and whatever information is provided to us, we are dealing on merit, I think that would help our relationship," he added.

Noting that Uzbek, Chechen, Arab and Afghan terrorists are operating in Pakistan, Gilani contended that such persons should be countered but an attack could not be launched on their country of origin.

"Even I heard some information coming from India that anything of such nature will happen again, we will make Pakistan responsible," he said.

Replying to a question on whether he worried about another attack on India, Gilani said, "They are worried, we are worried too. How can we take care of two countries because they have their own intelligence agencies? Had they that sort of information and they wanted to share with us, prior to the incident, may be we would have been in a position to help them."

Gilani said: "Every country says we'll take on Pakistan, and whatever happens anywhere in the world they say we'll take on Pakistan.

"I have talked to the world community: okay we are serious, you are serious, let's look in to how we resolve the issue. We should go into the root cause, we are ready to cooperate with you."

Gilani also contended that Pakistan is an underdeveloped country that did not have the resources to fully counter terrorism.

"When it comes to Pakistan, the world should also understand that they have to build up the capacity of Pakistan too," he said.

The Premier said he wanted to resolve the issues of his people and that Pakistan did not "want war with any country and we can't afford war".

He insisted that the suicide bombings on slain former premier Benazir Bhutto's [Images] motorcade in Karachi after her return home from self-imposed exile in October 2007 was "much, much more than" the Mumbai attacks.

Gilani gave an assurance that Pakistani soil "will not be used for terrorism against anybody because that is our responsibility...we are a peaceful country, we want to maintain excellent relations with our neighbours, and we have to focus on the real issues".

Pakistan would also amend its anti-terrorism laws if the need arose as the existing legislation "doesn't apply to people who have committed an offence outside" the country, he said. "Naturally we have to go according to the laws and if need be, we have to amend the laws."




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