Pakistan Prime Minister Yusuf Gilani reportedly told U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates that his government cannot prosecute anyone without evidence.

This was an apparent reference to Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, accused by India of masterminding the Mumbai attacks.

He is also said have told the Defence Secretary that one way that the U.S. could bridge the “trust deficit” with Pakistan was to be “even-handed” in its approach towards Pakistan and India.

The Hindu’s efforts to reach the Prime Minister’s media team for a verification of these remarks that can only further complicate an already difficult phase in India-Pakistan ties were unsuccessful.

The official version of the Gilani-Gates meeting, contained in the press statement from the Prime Minister’s Office, does not include these remarks. It gives the impression that India-Pakistan issues were not at the top of the talks, which seemed to have focussed on other bilateral issues such as Pakistan’s demand for drone technology, co-operation in the energy sector and the new airport screening rules for U.S.-bound Pakistanis.

It quotes the Prime Minister stating that India-Pakistan relations should not become hostage to the activities of terrorists which he described as “the common enemy.” Mr. Gilani also said lasting peace in the region required both countries to resolve the “core issues” including Kashmir and water dispute.

He talked of Pakistan’s commitment to peace in the region, and the “sincere efforts” by his government to resume the Composite Dialogue Process with India. He is said to have “regretted” that the Indian response “has not been encouraging.”

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