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Give proof, will cooperate, Musharraf to India

Source: PTI
Last updated on: July 20, 2006 22:31 IST
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Asking India to provide evidence of those it suspects to be behind the Mumbai serial blasts, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf on Thursday night said his government was prepared to extend "full cooperation" in apprehending the perpetrators.

In a televised address to the nation, the Pakistan president described as "unfortunate" India's decision to postpone the foreign secretary-level talks.

Deferring the peace process and dialogue is clearly "playing into the hands of terrorists. This is exactly what they want -- that peace and normalisation process should be stopped," Musharraf said.

He said the Indian government's stand in the wake of the blasts appeared to be "unfortunate" and "I'm sure Indian government does not want" the peace process to halt.

Hoping that India will see through such designs, Musharraf said, "To blame each other or indulge in blame game is the first sign of defeat (in our fight against terror)."

The Pakistan president said there was need to reflect before making any statements and "unsubstantiated comments should not be made."

Assuring India that Pakistan will fully cooperate in targeting terror infrastructure on its soil, Musharraf said, "If you give us proof, evidence on who are behind the blasts, we will fully cooperate."

Musharraf said the government, people of Pakistan and he himself strongly condemned the Mumbai blasts and said, "We are against such acts of terrorism".

"I want to tell the people of Mumbai that we strongly regret the loss of so many innocent lives in the blasts and the government of Pakistan, the people and I are with you" in condemning the incidents, he said.

Observing Pakistan itself was facing terrorism, Musharraf said, "We are with you in the fight against terrorism."

"We are all against terrorism and Pakistan is part of the international coalition in the fight against terrorism," Musharraf said adding, his country "has stood against" the menace.

Musharraf said Pakistani security forces had earlier focused on operations against Al Qaeda and 600-700 of them were targeted.

But now the focus has shifted to Taliban, operating from Afghanistan, which was trying to push Pakistan's tribal areas to a "backward culture" by smashing televisions and campaigning against music.

In his address, the Pakistan president appealed for a ceasefire in the Middle East saying the flare-up between Israel and Hezbollah militia could destabilise his country where militancy posed a threat.

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