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Pak wants to join train blasts probe

Source: PTI
February 20, 2007 16:53 IST
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Pakistan has asked India to involve its investigative agencies in the inquiry into the deadly bomb blasts on the Samjhauta Express.

Pakistan Railway Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said India should conduct a thorough probe into the blasts and allow Pakistani investigating agencies to take part in the probe. Accusing Indian railway officials of non-cooperation in providing details of the dead and injured Pakistanis in the blasts, Ahmed claimed Indian officials have not yet provided correct details.

There are reports of 67 deaths in the train but the Indian rail officials have conveyed the name of only one dead passenger named Shafique, he told the National Assembly.

Indian officials have informed that 13 Pakistanis were injured and have been admitted to a Delhi hospital but their condition is such that they cannot be allowed to travel for another 56 hours, Ahmed said. The minister said immediately after the incident, he contacted the Indian railway officials and rushed to Wagah border but after initial contact, they could not be reached.

"They had put down the phone receivers and I immediately contacted the President and the prime minister and informed them of the situation," Ahmed said. He said a C-130 transport plane and a special train was ready to bring the bodies back to Pakistan, which the Indian officials say were charred beyond recognition.

He also accused the Indian authorities of stopping the train at Attari for six hours for "no apparent reason". Locking the train doors, despite clearance by security officials was the cause of large number of deaths, he said adding Indians admit to a "serious lapse which caused the most unfortunate disaster".

Pakistan Minister Sher Afgan Niazi also accused the Indian government of not providing information about the accident. "The situation is not clear because the Indian government is not cooperating with us. It is a very serious matter, concerning the entire nation," Niazi, who hold the Parliamentary Affairs portfolio, told the National Assembly. Speaker of the House Amir Hussain said facts about the mishap were not yet clear; therefore, it could not be discussed right now.

The Senate also offered prayers for those killed in the blasts. A report in The Dawn newspaper Tuesday said that treasury and the opposition benches in Pakistan's Senate unanimously condemned the terrorist attack on the blast. Some members termed it as victimisation of Muslims. The Senate, however, could not adopt a unanimous resolution. Deputy Chairman Senate Jan Muhammad Jamali condemned the train attack and urged the foreign minister to officially state that "we have been victimised by Indian nationalism".

Leader of the opposition Mian Raza Rabbani blamed the government for failing to suitably respond to the situation, adding families of the victims were not given proper information about the casualties. Rabbani said the government had also failed to provide the house with the details of anti-terrorism measures. Leader of the house Wasim Sajjad termed the incident a despicable act that should be condemned by everyone.

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