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British foreign secretary backs Pakistan over terror
Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow
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January 15, 2009 03:35 IST
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband on Thursday made it quite eviodent that he did not favour India's repeated demand to seek custody of the alleged Pakistani  perpetrators of the Mumbai terrorist attacks

Miliband also clearly expressed confidence over Pakistan's sincerity in dealing with the culprits.

Miliband who was accompanying Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi [Images] on a two�day visit to the latter's political constituency told reporters, "it is amply evident that there are legal channels available in Pakistan to punish the perpetrators of the terrorist attack on Mumbai [Images]."

Expressing his faith in the Pakistani judicial system, he said, " the working of their legal system over the past one year clearly bears out how independent is their judiciary , so they should be allowed to go ahead with concrete action against them in their own home land."

He felt, "since the Pakistan President Zardari's own family had suffered on account of terrorism , I am sure he was equally committed towards taking effective steps against the problem."

Candidly declaring himself as much a "friend of Pakistan" as that of India, Miliband did not seem to be in favour with India's persistent demand for handing over of all Pakistani suspects involved behind the Mumbai attacks.

He said,  "the Indian people want action against perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks and Pakistani authorities too are assuring to bring them book." He owas of the view that  they must be given a chance to  take the prosecution proceedings against them ahead . "That will demonstrate Pakistan's first step towards rooting out the menace of terrorism , which had taken its toll in both the countries", he added.

"We must help Pakistan tackle terror on their own  home ground" , he said, and felt , there was no reason to suspect Pakistan's  intentions where combating terror was concerned.

Miliband  looked quite impressed by Rahul's efforts in taking technology to  rural areas  . "I have seen the success stories in Bombay, Bangalore or New Delhi [Images] , but what I saw here today is amazing", he remarked,

Narrating his experience of visiting a cybercafe in Amethi , he said, "it clearly reflects the remarkable progress India has made in taking communication services top remote rural pockets where people were keeping in touch with whatever was happening across the globe."

The British foreign secretary however skillfully skirted a pointed query , whether he considered Rahul suitable to assume the mantle of India's prime minister. "Well, Rahul Gandhi has a wonderful range of qualities and I have high regard for him. However, I feel that the focus should be what he was doing currently and that is what he too must concentrate on because that is certainly more important, " he quipped.

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