Don’t doubt sincerity in 26/11 probe: Pakistan

Islamabad, June 13: Pakistan said Saturday India should not doubt its intentions in the probe into the 26/11 Mumbai carnage and called on New Delhi to resume the sub-continental dialogue process with Islamabad. Interior Minister Rehman Malik, during a meeting with Indian High Commissioner Sharad Sabharwal today, said resumption of the Pakistan-India dialogue “is imperative for regional peace” and India should not doubt Pakistan’s sincerity in bringing the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks to justice.

Malik’s remarks come against the backdrop of an ice-breaking meeting next week between Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg where the two leaders will attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit.

This will be their first meeting since the Mumbai attacks that India has blamed on elements operating from Pakistan, but does not signal the resumption of the sub-continental dialogue process.

As Indian Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon put it Friday, “there can be nothing more authoritative than what the prime minister said on the floor of the house” on resuming the dialogue process which was frozen in the wake of the Mumbai attacks.

Signalling India’s willingness to engage with Pakistan, Manmohan Singh told parliament in a policy speech June 9 that India was willing to meet Pakistan “more than half way” if the Pakistani leadership takes strong action to prevent terrorism directed against India.

Malik told the Indian envoy that the terrorists were taking advantage of suspension of dialogue between Pakistan and India.

“We can resolve our issue through dialogues. Therefore, India should start dialogue with Pakistan without any delay and condition,” Online news agency quoted him as saying.

He said Pakistan was keen to enhance its relations with neighbouring countries including India and keeping in view the regional situation and offensive against militants, Pakistan and India should devise joint strategy so that Pakistan could focus its concentration to end insurgency.

In an apparent reference to India’s questioning of the release of Hafiz Saeed, the chief of outlawed group Jamat-ud Dawa (JuD) and the alleged mastermind of the Mumbai terror attacks, Malik said: “Pakistan is conducting investigation of 26/11 according to its own laws and the trial of the accused allegedly involved in incident is underway.”

“Judiciary is independent and it would decide the fate of 26/11 accused,” he added.

The minister also asked India to relax its visa rules to enhance people-to-people contact between the two countries.

On his part, Sabharwal said the dialogue process with Pakistan could resume only after the 26/11 culprits were brought to justice.

India has said Saeed’s release reflected Islamabad’s “insincerity” in probing the 26/11 terror attacks, which claimed the lives of over 170 people, including 26 foreign nationals.(IANS)