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India presses Pakistan to probe Saeed’s 26/11 role

New Delhi(IANS): Ahead of President Asif Ali Zardari’s maiden visit here, India Friday pressed Pakistan for a judicial inquiry into Hafiz Saeed’s role in masterminding the Mumbai terror attack and underlined that despite New Delhi providing enough evidence, Islamabad has chosen not to act against the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chief.

“We have been saying that the dossier the home minister of India has provided to Pakistan contains every detail of Hafiz Saeed’s involvement in the planning and execution of the terror attack,” External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna told reporters here.

“The amount of denial would not exonerate them unless there is a judicial inquiry into the whole episode whereby responsibilities can be fixed. But unfortunately, the Pakistan government has not thought it proper to investigate this,” said Krishna in a sharply-worded reminder to Pakistan to act against the Lashkar-e-Taiba chief who is carrying on his tirade against India.

When asked whether the issue would be discussed during Zardari’s visit to India, Krishna said: “I don’t know if it will be discussed during Zardari’s visit, but still there is a chance.”

Krishna’s reaction came a day after Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani told Pakistan’s National Assembly that his government cannot take action against Saeed in the absence of solid evidence. Gilani said the issue of the LeT chief is an “internal issue” and if there is any concrete proof against him then it should be provided to Pakistan.

The issue of Saeed’s role in 26/11 terror attack lurched back into public attention after the US Monday announced an award of $10 million for information leading to his arrest and conviction.

In the first presidential visit from Pakistan in the last seven years, Zardari, accompanied by a 40-member strong delegation, touches down in New Delhi Sunday morning. Interior Minister Rehman Malik will be the sole minister accompanying Zardari on this important visit.

He will holds talks with Manmohan Singh at the latter’s official residence and have lunch with him before flying to Ajmer to offer prayers at the Sufi shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti.

“All bilateral issues between the two countries are likely to be discussed. I don’t know if they will have enough time to go into details, but the very fact the prime minister is hosting a lunch, they might get a chance to discuss some bilateral issues,” Krishna told reporters.

“After all, it’s a private visit of President Zardari. I do not know whether they would have time to go into great details,” he added.

Taking note of positive developments in bilateral ties between India and Pakistan, Krishna said bilateral talks would eventually resolve issues.

“In the last three years, especially during (Pakistan) Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar’s visit to India, she told me and the media that there is a mindset change in Pakistan and she brings that mindset in bilateral talks to India,” he added.

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