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'People of India and Pakistan are against war'

Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad | December 05, 2008 20:53 IST

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The leadership of India and Pakistan are handling the fallout of the Mumbai attacks in a 'responsible manner' as people in neither country want a war, Pakistan's Interior Ministry said on Friday, offering unconditional support in the terror probe.

Those responsible for last week's terror strikes should be brought to justice, Pakistani interior ministry chief Rehman Malik said.

"The leadership of India and Pakistan are taking this matter forward in a responsible manner. The people of Pakistan do not want a war and neither do our Indian brothers," Malik told reporters in Karachi.

Malik, who had earlier ruled out action against Jaish-e-Mohammed founder Maulana Masood Azhar till India provided evidence of his complicity in the Mumbai attacks, was in Karachi to review the situation following ethnic clashes between Urdu-speaking people and Pashtuns.

He said: "We think that the perpetrators (of the Mumbai attacks) - whether they are Indians, Pakistanis or from any other country - should be brought to justice. And we will give India unconditional support to identify the criminals and take action against them."

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice [Images] had on Thursday asked Pakistan's top leadership to act sincerely and quickly in providing unequivocal assistance to India in probing the terrorist attacks that killed nearly 200 people.

India put the composite dialogue process with Pakistan on hold soon after the attacks. Sources have indicated it will not be resumed till Islamabad [Images] acts on New Delhi's [Images] concerns about Pakistani soil being used for terrorist acts directed against India.

Reports today quoted Pakistani officials as saying that trade talks between the two sides, scheduled to be held in early December, could not be held as the Indian team did not arrive in Islamabad. Pakistan has proposed that the talks be rescheduled to December 18 though there has been no response from India, the officials said.

Foreign countries continued their efforts to reach out to Pakistan as part of efforts to ease tensions in the region.

Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon had a telephonic conversation with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi to discuss the situation in the region and bilateral relations.

Qureshi condemned the Mumbai attacks and reiterated Pakistan's 'offer of full cooperation to the Indian government in investigation of the deplorable crime', an official statement said. He also appreciated Canada's [Images] assistance for better management of the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

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