Lahore: As Indo-Pak Foreign Secretaries met in Delhi for talks aimed at ending the chill in bilateral ties, Pakistan on Thursday claimed "Indian networks" were behind the terror attacks in Mumbai and on the Samjhauta Express and Indian Parliament.
Without giving any evidence to substantiate the claims, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said a terrorist assault of the magnitude of the Mumbai attacks could not have been carried out without the backing of an "Indian network”.
"I had said very openly during a press conference that such a major terrorist incident like the Mumbai attacks could not have happened without the involvement of an Indian network," he told reporters after appearing in the Lahore High Court in connection with the hearing of a case.
"There was (an Indian) network when the Samjhauta Express was (attacked in 2007)... There was also (an Indian) network involved in the attack on Indian Parliament (in 2001)," Malik said.
"These are three networks that have been identified as existing in India," he claimed without giving further details.
Malik referred to comments by Home Minister P Chidambaram about Abu Jindal, a suspected Indian handler of the Mumbai attacks, to back his contention about the involvement of an "Indian network" in the incident.
"Time proved me right when Chidambaram said that Abu Jindal was involved. That means there is a network," he said.
However, Chidambaram had only said that Indian authorities suspected Abu Jindal was an Indian. Chidambaram had said that Abu Jindal could have infiltrated into India and lived in the country long enough to acquire `Indian characteristics`.
He had also said India had not received voice samples from Pakistan that could help establish Abu Jindal`s real identity.
Malik`s remarks came even as the Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan held talks in New Delhi to normalise bilateral relations, which went into a deep freeze following the November 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people.
India has linked the normalisation of ties to Pakistan taking action against terror groups based on its soil, including the Lashker-e-Toiba that it has blamed for the Mumbai incident and the attack on the Indian Parliament.
Despite making allegations about the involvement of Indian networks in attacks in India, Malik said he did not "want any signal to go from Pakistan that shows we are creating negativity”.
"We want positive things. We do not want terrorism on our soil and we will not encourage anybody using our soil for that particular purpose," he said.
Malik made it clear that regional peace could not be achieved if Pakistan and Afghanistan are destabilised.
"We all have to work for stability and peace in the region because this is the guarantee for peace for the world," he said.