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India hands over LeT operative's confessions to Pakistan
K J M Varma in Islamabad
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March 08, 2007 00:18 IST

Indian officials have forwarded to Islamabad 'confessions' by a Pakistani national on his role in the 2005 bombing of the police headquarters in Hyderabad and requested for an update on the probe at the next meeting of the joint Anti-Terror Mechanism.

The details of the statement made by the Pakistani national with alleged links to the banned militant outfit Lashkar-e-Tayiba was provided to Pakistani officials during the just-concluded first meeting of the ATM, Additional Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, K C Singh who led the Indian delegation, told reporters.

The LeT activist, who was caught in a third country, has admitted to his complicity in the Hyderabad blast and he was subsequently deported to Pakistan, Singh said.

India requested Pakistan to probe the case based on the confessions made in a third country and provide an update in the next ATM meeting to be held in the coming three months.

Indian officials believe that the confessions in a third country could form a strong and credible case for Pakistan to probe the case.

A suicide bomber allegedly triggered a blast at the police Special Task Force HQ in Hyderabad in October, 2005 killing himself and a security guard and injuring many others.

On allegations that India was helping Sindh and Baloch nationalist rebels in Pakistan, Singh said New Delhi will formally reply to the charges.

The material forwarded by Pakistan pertained to some individuals publishing periodicals expressing their views on Balochistan and Sindh, he said.

"Being a free country, people do express their opinions but it cannot be regarded as evidence of sponsoring revolt," he said.

Singh also contradicted Pakistan's assertions that India, during the talks on Tuesday, provided only a sketch of a Pakistani national suspected to have been involved in the Feb 18 Samjhauta blasts that killed 68 people.

He said the photograph of the Pakistani national was identified by the survivors of the train blast including Rana Shaukat, the passenger from Pakistan who lost five of his children in the incident.

The photograph resembled the sketches drawn after consultations with the witness, he said.

Also, the suspect was identified by the Indian investigators through the list of Pakistanis who entered India and later went missing, he said.

The suspect, whose name he declined to divulge, went missing last year after he entered India with 'valid' documents.

The details of passport and the address of the individual was passed on to Pakistani authorities who promised to provide an update in the next meeting, he said.

On allegations that India has not provided much information on the Samjhauta blasts probe, Singh said investigations have not been completed yet and the details would be shared as soon it was completed.

He also contradicted reports in the Pakistani media that India had forwarded the photo of an unclaimed 'headless' body recovered after the Mumbai train bomb blasts.

Pakistani officials were quoted as saying the photo suggested that the body was that of a suicide bomber, contradicting the Indian claim that the blasts were caused by a chain of remote-controlled bombs.

Singh said the body was believed to be that of a Pakistani national.

Singh said in addition to providing details of possible links of Pakistani nationals in the Samjhauta, Hyderabad and Mumbai train blasts, India has handed over a fresh list of six wanted persons from Pakistan who were involved in terror attacks, including the one at the 2003 Muland Railway station and on BJP leader Haren Pandya.

Singh said he considered the first round of the ATM a success as both sides managed to work out a joint statement agreeing to exchange specific information to help investigations on either side related to terrorist acts.

He said the two sides, after considerable deliberations, agreed to meet every three months to exchange information and made provisions for an emergency meeting if necessary in the event of any untoward incidents.

Discussions also focussed on making ATM a totally different platform from the Home Secretary level talks and the dialogue between CBI and Federal Investigation Agency of Pakistan.

The ATM would focus on information relating to terrorist acts, Singh said.

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