Ilyas Kashmiri may have aided 26/11 attacks: Pak
Last Updated: Wednesday, June 29, 2011, 00:08
  
Islamabad: Slain al-Qaeda-linked militant commander Ilyas Kashmiri "may also have been part" of the Mumbai attacks but India's claim that he may have been supported by Pakistan is misplaced, Interior Minister Rehman Malik has said.

Malik claimed he had confirmation that Kashmiri had been killed in a US drone attack on June 3.

Malik said the Mumbai attacks were carried out by non-state actors and "used against Pakistan".

Specially Designated Global Terrorist, Kashmiri "may also have been part" of the 26/11 attacks but India's contention that he may have been supported by Pakistan is misplaced, Malik said.

The Mumbai incident was used by "some forces" to bring the two countries to war and it would have also benefitted terrorists because any mobilisation of troops against India would have relieved pressure on them on Pakistan's western border, he said.

Referring to the 2007 Samjhuata Express train bombing, Malik expressed his satisfaction with the Indian investigation into the incident but said that the two sides should avoid misunderstandings and the blame game, which could affect their relations.

Initially, the ISI was blamed for the Samjhauta Express bombings but Malik congratulated the Indian government for "getting to the bottom" of the matter.

The ISI was "vindicated in this case" he contended. Pakistan wants to know who was behind the attack and why these elements "wanted to blame the ISI and put India and Pakistan on the warpath," he said.

It is important to identify the forces trying to create hostility between the two countries, he added.

Referring to the alleged involvement of Indian Army officer Col S P Purohit in the attack on the Samjhauta Express, Malik said Purohit's name was revealed by Indian investigations and it was important to know "if he was working alone or under instructions from somewhere."

"Also we need to find out if he (Purohit) had any hand in some of the terror attacks in Pakistan," Malik said.

The bilateral relationship should not be tied to the Mumbai and Samjhauta incidents and instead the two sides should judge each other by their intentions, he said.

Malik said it was good that recent talks between India and Pakistan had gone off well with both countries showing positivity.

"Our government wants to build the kind of trust between the two countries that will allow us to speak to each other freely about our apprehensions," he said.

The leadership of both countries have taken the initiative to end a "total deadlock" but it would be unrealistic to think that 60 years of backlog can be wiped away in a few days or meetings, Malik said.

Asked about the Indian External Affairs Minister's contention that mob boss Dawood Ibrahim is in Pakistan, Malik said: "This is a big country. Our intelligence is that he is not here, I can assure you. We believe he is in the Middle East."

If Ibrahim is in Pakistan, authorities "will take action", he claimed. Malik said he had checked immigration records but "seen no movement in or out" by Ibrahim.

Authorities had also followed up on information provided by India but they had drawn a blank, he said.

In response to another question, Malik said the Kashmir issue cannot be resolved overnight. "Earlier, there used to be only monologue on Kashmir. Now there is a dialogue. Improved relations between India and Pakistan can pave the roadmap for peace in the region," he said.

Referring to Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao's statement talk dialogue on a compelx issue like Kashmir is not possible under the shadow of gun, Malik said he agree with her remarks. "We have done everything to stop infiltration. We need to forget the language of guns. Let's exchange hearts not guns," he said.

Malik contended that regional peace is in danger and Pakistan is the "shield" between what is happening in Afghanistan and India. He hoped India and Pakistan would join hands to fight terrorism. Friendship between the two countries will have a "soothing effect on regional and world peace", he said.

Noting that Pakistan and India should share real time information on terrorism, Malik repeated his claim that he had shared information with India suggesting that the Taliban.

PTI


First Published: Wednesday, June 29, 2011, 00:08


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