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Finally, Pakistan shares information about 26/11 probe

By Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
January 16, 2009 17:59 IST
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In its first formal response to India with regard to the Mumbai attacks, Pakistan on Friday said it had initiated a 'series of actions' in connection with the probe into the terror strikes.

Pakistan's response was conveyed by Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir to Indian High Commissioner Satyabrata Pal, a day after External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said Islamabad should inform New Delhi through diplomatic channels about steps it had taken in the wake of the Mumbai strikes.

During the meeting at the Foreign Office in Islamabad, Bashir discussed with the Indian envoy the ongoing probe and other measures, including actions initiated by Pakistan to implement sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council on the banned Jamaat-ud-Dawa and leaders of Lashkar-e-Taiyba.

"The Foreign Secretary has conveyed today to the Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad the sequence and series of actions initiated by the government of Pakistan in pursuance of its international obligations as well as those relating to the Mumbai terrorist attacks," a Foreign Office spokesman said in a statement.

Bashir "mentioned that an official inquiry has already been launched as announced by the Prime Minister of Pakistan in his address to the National Assembly (lower house of parliament) on January 13", the statement said.

Bashir also said "it was important for Pakistan and India to chart the way forward on anti-terrorism cooperation" and highlighted "the imperative need for an across-the-board constructive bilateral engagement".

 The statement did not give details about the various steps that had been initiated by the Pakistan government.

Mukherjee called for sharing of information through diplomatic channels after Pakistan's Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik held a news conference on Thursday and detailed the action taken against the Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Lashkar-e-Taiyba, including the detention of 124 members of banned groups and the closure of five terrorist training camps.

During his meeting with the Indian High Commissioner, Bashir also "transmitted a letter addressed by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, in response to the New Year's greetings received from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh," the statement said.

Greeting cards sent by Singh to President Asif Ali Zardari and Gilani were seen by the Pakistan government as an indication of India's desire for better relations, following the tensions sparked by the Mumbai attacks.

The Indian High Commissioner's visit to the Foreign Office coincided with a meeting there between British Foreign Secretary David Miliband and his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

Miliband is in Pakistan after a visit to India to help defuse regional tensions.

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Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
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