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India asks Pakistan to communicate officially

Source: PTI
February 10, 2009 21:34 IST
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With Pakistan saying it needs more information on Mumbai attacks to pursue the probe, India on Tuesday criticised it for talking through the media and asked it to seek officially whatever it wants.

New Delhi made it clear that it will not negotiate through the media and reminded Islamabad about the official channels of communication which should be used.

"We would expect official communication from Pakistan whether they need anything extra and anything additional from us," External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee told media persons in New Delhi.

He was responding when asked about Pakistan saying it would require more information from India in connection with the Mumbai attacks as the dossier provided earlier was not substantial.

"Pakistan should communicate officially, then we will be in a position to deal with it, otherwise it is going to be extremely difficult," Mukherjee said.

Earlier, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon refused to comment on Islamabad's contention, saying, "Pakistan has been saying various things at various times and in various forms to various audiences."

"If Pakistan have something to say to us, they should come and directly talk to us," Menon told media persons on Monday night while returning from Dhaka where he had gone with Mukherjee.

Menon said, "India will not react to statements to the media, different statements through different people, through speculation and through guesswork."

New Delhi is unhappy with Islamabad's attitude over the Mumbai dossier since the beginning as it feels that Pakistan is trying to drag the matter and avoid coming clean on the issue.

Sources in the Ministry of External Affairs noted that the dossier provided by India was quite comprehensive, containing lot of details about linkages in Pakistan to the Mumbai attacks.

The dossier has identified individuals who were in touch with the Mumbai attackers, their phone numbers and other details.

"We are not going to negotiate with Pakistan through the media on the Mumbai terror attacks issue. That is precisely India's stand. We have offered a dossier based on the pain-stalking and comprehensive investigations," a source said.

Surprised by Pakistan's refrain that the material provided is not enough, India points out that the same dossier has been shared with several other countries which have found it quite substantive and professionally-done job.

"We have shared whatever we could with Pakistan, though we may not have shared everything," the source said.

"Let Pakistan approach us through proper channels. We are ready to talk to them," an MEA source said.

On the possibility of Pakistan seeking custody of Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone surviving terrorist who has been held, the sources ruled out handing him over to Islamabad. They noted that since Kasab has committed a crime in India, he should face trial the here itself.

The sources also did not attach much significance to the threat by the Al-Qaida that it would carry out more Mumbai-type attacks if India targeted Pakistan. The threat issued in a video by theĀ Al-Qaida leader Abu Al-Yazid has prompted India to question Pakistan's earlier claim that the terrorist had been killed.

"This is how Pakistan gives information to us," the source said.

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