Pak concedes India has got proof against Pak nationals

Pak concedes India has got proof against Pak nationals

17 Jan 2009

ISLAMABAD/NEW DELHI: Giving in to international pressure to “cooperate” with the investigation into the Mumbai terror attacks, Pakistan acknowledged on Saturday India’s 26/11 dossier has “proof” of involvement of the complicity of Pakistani elements.

The first-ever admission that India had proof came from Pakistan’s interior ministry chief Rehman Malik who said that the newly-appointed probe panel has been asked to complete the task in 10 days.

Acknowledging the veracity of the information provided in the Indian dossier, Malik said there were “leaks and good clues”, enough material to start a probe. “All actions which will be taken against the terrorist involved in the Mumbai terror attack will be carried only on the basis of proof shared by India. Now we have significant proof of the involvement of Pakistani nationals in the Mumbai terror attack and we assure of a fair justice. Pakistan’s investigation team will complete the probe into Mumbai attacks within 10 days,” he said.

Malik, who was addressing a press conference in Islamabad, promised to file criminal cases if prima facie evidence was found. “Quite a lot of material was provided by India and the Pakistani investigators will work to convert this into evidence that can stand up to judicial scrutiny.”

Malik, however, refused to commit himself to any time frame to complete the prosecution, saying it would depend on the judiciary.

India’s grouse has been that Pakistan had refused to even consider a probe based on the information provided. This signalled a lack of intent, India had held.

On Saturday, France joined a growing list of countries to express solidarity with India on the attacks, saying the Indian dossier was perfectly “credible”. Nicholas Sarkozy’s diplomatic adviser, Jean-David Levitte, said there could be no criticism of the evidence provided by India. “We want Pakistan to cooperate fully. This is the least we can ask, and it’s also in their interest to do so.”

However, like the UK, France too refused to accept any suggestion of involvement of the Pakistani official agencies in the attacks. Levitte said clearly that while the Indian dossier was above reproach, even the dossier did not point fingers at anybody in the Pakistani official hierarchy.

Security officials dealing with their counterparts in other countries also say there are few takers for India’s allegation, famously made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, that Pakistani official agencies were involved. They’re willing to grant the involvement of LeT, but stopped short of the ISI. It blows a hole in the continuing Indian contention, not because there wasn’t any, but that India has not made any clear case for any official involvement.

Just as after 9/11 French paper `Le Monde’ wrote “we are all Americans”, Levitte said, France felt the same way after the Mumbai attacks. “When India is challenged, we feel challenged.”

In Islamabad, however, Malik insisted that Pakistan was not acting under Indian pressure or any other country’s pressure. British foreign secretary David Miliband got the Pakistani version of an earful as well, when Malik refuted his demand to go “farther and faster” on the investigation. “We will not accept anyone’s instructions to do things faster.”

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