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Pak’s probe cannot be trusted, says Pranab
Published on 9 Jan. 2009 2:39 AM IST
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Foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee launched a broadside against Pakistan on Wednesday, saying others could not have confidence in Pakistan's investigations because the Pakistani government had no confidence in its own investigations, having asked the UN to solve Benazir Bhutto's death. In an interview to Times Now, Mukherjee said he was not surprised by Pakistan's denials after the Mumbai attacks. "They say something and they do just the opposite. They are constantly... from day one, on denial mode. This is precisely the question I am asking the Pakistani authorities. Have you studied it? Have you examined it," he said. India and Pakistan shot off hot words on the Mumbai attacks on Wednesday, even as Pakistan government confirmed news media reports of officials accepting Ajmal Kasab as a Pakistani national. After presenting its dossier on the Mumbai attacks to about 100 countries, an exercise that was trashed by the Pakistan government as "propaganda", the MEA on Wednesday joined in a high decibel rhetorical battle with Islamabad. An MEA spokesperson said Pakistan had reverted "into its previous patterns of denial of facts, evidence and reality". Rejecting Pakistan's call for a joint investigation, the spkesperson said existing "bilateral mechanisms set up at the highest level, such as the joint anti-terror mechanism" had failed because of Pakistani evasion and denial. India also rejected the suggestion on a high level visit from Pakistan saying it was important for Pakistan to take action on terrorism in India. Mukherjee and the MEA criticised Pakistan's rejection of the information in the dossier. In an interview, Mukherjee said, "They did not look into it. We have given them names, and connections. They should look into that. How can one come to these conclusions in 24 hours?" Earlier in the day, Pakistan's foreign office denied reports that it had trashed the dossier, saying it was "examining it seriously". The foreign office said in a statement, "Pakistan regrets the propaganda campaign unleashed by India to malign Pakistan. Blame game and political point scoring is counter-productive and unacceptable." It said Pakistan was conducting its own investigation into the Mumbai attacks. In fact, a statement by Pakistani PM Yousuf Raza Gilani said the investigations had made "progress". "Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, instead of reciprocating Pakistan's sincere sentiments to move forward towards establishing good, cooperative and friendly relations, has given a statement yesterday while addressing a meeting of chief ministers raising serious allegations in connection with the Mumbai attacks which is most unfortunate," Gilani said. "Our own investigations into Mumbai have progressed. We have received some information of an interim nature on Indian investigations. We are prepared to take this process forward with a view to uncovering full facts, thus ensuring that the perpetrators of this heinous crime, whosoever they may be, are brought to justice," he added. Mukherjee said, "I will give you just three contradictions from the different leadership of Pakistan. How they are contradicting each other. Take the case of Kasab, the only surviving terrorist captured by the Mumbai police. His father is saying that he is my son. Have the Pakistani authorities investigated? Does the village exist on the map of Pakistan? Was it not shown on the screen? The man is speaking before the television cameras." Mukherjee also trashed the Pakistani flip-flop on Masood Azhar, the Jaishe-e-Mohammed chief. "A responsible person like the defence minister of Pakistan said that he is under house arrest. After a couple of days, they say that he is not visible." Pakistan, he said, was "committed as per international law" to take suo motu action against Azhar, and not wait for India to ask for him.

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