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Sharif does a U-turn, asks India to show evidence

By Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
December 24, 2008 15:00 IST
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In a U-turn, former Premier Nawaz Sharif -- who last week indicated that the lone captured Mumbai attacker Ajmal Amir Iman was a Pakistani -- has said India should provide evidence for Islamabad to take action or else it should avoid creating tensions through 'fake allegations'.

Coverage: Mumbai terror attacks

"Pakistan, as a state and as a government, is not at all involved in the incident. If India provides evidence to Pakistan, the country will look into them and take action," Sharif, the leader of the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, said.

Sharif said he will request President Asif Ali Zardari to take stern action if India provides evidence of the involvement of the Pakistani elements in the Mumbai terror attacks.

"If we get the evidence, I will personally go to President Zardari and ask him to take stern action against such people," Sharif said at a ceremony held ahead of Christmas at the Chief Minister's Secretariat in Lahore on Tuesday.

If the Indian government did not have any evidence, it should avoid creating tensions through 'fake allegations', he said.

Sharif's latest remarks follow his statement on Friday last when he indicated that Ajmal was from Pakistan, embarrassing Islamabad.

"It has been said this individual named Ajmal Kasab hails from Faridkot village (in Pakistan's Punjab province). I have seen and I personally got this checked -- the village and its surrounding areas were cordoned off. His parents are not being allowed to meet anyone," Sharif had told Geo News.

However, the PML-N chief on Tuesday said Pakistan will immediately act if the Indian government provides evidence about the attacks.

Sharif said Pakistan wants friendly and peaceful relations with India and is committed to helping New Delhi in hunting down the perpetrators of the attacks.

Terrorism is 'poisonous for society' and nobody wants to live in a tense situation, he added.

The former Premier also warned the leadership of India and Pakistan against making irresponsible statements, saying this will further aggravate the situation that has arisen in the wake of the Mumbai carnage.

Sharif said it will be better for the future of both countries if they resolved their differences through dialogue.

India has blamed Pakistan-based elements, including the banned Lashkar-e-Tayiba terror group, for the Mumbai attacks. It has asked Pakistan to take action against these elements.

Pakistan has said it cannot push forward its probe into the attacks till India formally shares evidence with it.

Referring to the domestic political situation, Sharif said he did not believe in any minority or majority. He classified people who believed in the rule of law, supremacy of the Constitution, good governance and independence of judiciary as the majority in Pakistan.

Those who wanted the status quo, concentration of national resources in a few hands and violation of merit were in the minority, Sharif said.

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Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
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