Special Correspondent

It will not spare any efforts to get to the bottom of the case

“Terrorists have no religion and we condemn terrorism”

Denies any hate campaign against Hindus

PANAJI: Pakistan High Commissioner Shahid Malik said here on Saturday that the Interior Ministry was examining responses received from India to their questions in connection with the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

Mr. Malik was in Goa to participate in a function organised by the Goa NRI Commission headed by Eduardo Faleiro, the former External Affairs Minister.

Interacting with journalists, Mr. Malik said, “Pakistan has just received replies from the Indian government to many questions raised pertaining to Mumbai 26\11 terror attacks and the responses are being examined by the Internal Ministry.”

Asserting that terrorists had no religion, Mr. Malik said, “It is in the own interest of Pakistan to get to the bottom of this problem. We have been victims of terrorism too.”

He emphasised that Pakistan would not spare any efforts in this regard and ensure that justice was done.Stating that this was an important phase in the bilateral relations, he said, “Pakistan desires peaceful, friendly and good neighbourly relations with India. This is a feeling across the board right from the democratically elected government of Pakistan to the broad spectrum of the political parties.”

“We have sought this sort of relationship over a number of years with India and I am happy to note that there is a corresponding desire on the part of Indian leadership to do so,” the High Commissioner said.

“With this feeling on both sides there is no reason why we should not carry forward our relations in peaceful and friendly manner,” he added.

Asked what was really missing in the efforts to improve bilateral relations, Mr. Malik said: “Basically we (Pakistan and India) have to learn to trust each other.” He was candid to admit, “there is lack of trust between India and Pakistan,” but was quick to add that “both sides are trying to overcome it.”

Describing Pakistan as the victim of terrorism, Mr. Malik said that his country was doing everything possible to tackle the menace of terrorism as it was hurting Pakistan very badly.

On Taliban raising its ugly head, Mr. Malik said the government of Pakistan was not allowing any terrorists to operate anywhere, and went on to say, “they are not being encouraged by us.”

“Terrorists have no religion, we condemn terrorism anywhere in the world and we are in forefront of war against terrorism, and we would do everything within our power and control to end this menace,” he said.

Refuting reports that Pakistan school books have curriculum which preached hatred of Indians and Hindus, Mr. Malik said, “there is no such organised activity or campaign to fill articles and stories in school text books to suggest “hate India and Hindus propaganda.” “I don’t subscribe to that view,” he said.

On the rationality of the stands adopted by both countries not to allow arrested suspect terrorists from their countries to be tried in each other’s courts, Mr. Malik justified the process of trial.

“What is important is there is an exhaustive sharing of information in such cases. As for instance, on the basis of information we seek from Indian government regarding Mumbai terror attacks, we would strengthen the prosecution’s case. What is important is justice is done, all efforts are aimed towards that,” said Mr. Malik.To a question, he said there was no fear of Talibanisation of Pakistan was being made out and attributed much of it to speculative media stories.”

Mr. Faleiro emphasised the need for more cohesive relationship among the countries of South Asia and called for more economic relations among the countries of the region.

He also called for a joint battle towards all forms of terrorism.