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Pak foreign minister denies Karachi angle
A Correspondent in New Delhi
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November 27, 2008 20:24 IST
Visiting Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Thursday denied the terrorists who attacked Mumbai had travelled by  boats from Karachi.

He snapped back at the media in Chandigarh asking the question: "Have you seen the boat? Could you travel on that boat from Karachi? The media  should be supportive and understanding. It's too early to say  anything."

Asked what he thought of Pakistan getting the blame for the Mumbai attacks, Qureshi quipped: "I have not heard anyone make any such remarks." 

He sough a hotline between the intelligence chiefs of India and Pakistan and offered his government's full cooperation to India to nab those behind the terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

'I was shocked and horrified to hear about the barbaric incident that took place in Mumbai. I condemn this tragic incident in the strongest possible terms," he said in a statement circulated in New Delhi [Images] by the Pakistani high commission.

Alluding to the deadly terror strike at Marriott Hotel in Islamabad [Images] in September, Qureshi said: "We, in Pakistan, are dealing with terrorism on a daily basis. People of India know that we suffered similar attack in Islamabad at the Marriott Hotel recently. So we understand their concern, anxiety and the shock and horror this attack has generated all over India."

Calling terrorism a "global phenomenon," he exhorted all civilised societies "to join hands and pool in their resources to deal with this menace."

Recalling his talks with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday during a chat with the media in Chandigarh, he suggested that both India and Pakistan strengthen the joint anti-terror mechanism to combat terrorism. "I pointed out that both Pakistan and India are victims of terrorism and will have to further strengthen the joint anti terror mechanism to deal with this scourge," he said.

"I also offered that there should be a direct contact and hotline established between the intelligence chiefs of the two countries, so that they can share information and cooperate with each other in a more effective manner," he said. (So far, India and Pakistan have a hotline between the foreign secretaries and the directors general of military operation.)

In the text of his interaction, released in the capital, with the Media in Chandigarh where he addressed an international conference on 'Cooperative development, peace and security in South Asia', Qureshi warned against making insinuations against each other and underlined the need for a cautious approach towards tackling the common scourge.

"Today you are victims. We are victims of terrorism on a daily basis. We must cooperate at this time instead of making insinuations against each other," said the Pakistani foreign minister.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who was also supposed to attend the Chandigarh conference along with Qureshi, cancelled his engagement on account of the developments in Mumbai.

Qureshi warned against jumping to conclusions and pointing figures at Pakistan. Referring to the Samjhauta blast of February 2007 he said: "The Samjhauta incident very clearly indicates that we have to be cautious. Our expressions and our insinuations have to be measured.Pakistan wants to cooperate. We have to face the common enemy in terrorism and it is a global challenge."

India had blamed Pakistan-based terrorists for the deadly bomb attacks on local trains in Mumbai two years ago which later froze the peace process between the two countries. This time round, India has not yet directly pointed a finger at Pakistan, though Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] dropped hints of the perpetrators of the Mumai attacks were based outside the country.

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