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Pakistan taking Indian dossier "extremely seriously"

Probe is on and results will come soon, says Gilani

Islamabad: Pakistan is taking India's dossier on the Mumbai terror attacks "extremely seriously" and will "have to act fast" to complete its probe, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has said.

"We are taking it [the dossier] extremely seriously, and we have already started [an] investigation and the results will come soon," he told the Financial Times daily in an interview.

Mr. Gilani also hinted that Pakistan could consider extraditing terror suspects to India if bilateral relations were normalised.

Replying to a question whether he would ever agree to extradition of suspects to India, the Premier said: "So far there is no such thing. But that depends on our normalisation of relations."

Asked how quickly the Pakistani investigation into the Mumbai attacks would proceed, Mr. Gilani said, "I don't want to step into the domain of the Interior Ministry but at the same time we have to act fast."

Sharing intelligence

The Prime Minister said he had also spoken to his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh on extending full cooperation for further intelligence sharing. "And even for getting to the culprits, we'll be needing their assistance," he said.

If any culprit was detected during the Pakistani investigation, the government would "proceed according to the law and we will ensure ... that justice will be done."

The India-Pakistan ties nosedived in the wake of the Mumbai attacks that killed over 180 people. India blamed Pakistan-based elements for masterminding and coordinating the attacks.

After weeks of denial, Pakistan recently acknowledged that Ajmal Amir "Kasab", the lone terrorist arrested in India during the attacks, is a Pakistani national.

Asked whether it was his understanding that the attacks were launched from Pakistan, Mr. Gilani said: "No, this is not the issue because the Government of India doesn't blame the government [of Pakistan], they don't even blame the organisations, institutions. They were only pointing out to the individuals, and individuals, those people, are from every part of the world."

"A good sign"

Mr. Gilani described the New Year greetings and peace message he had recently received from Dr. Singh as "a good sign."

"But the people of India and the world and of course, us, we also want to see some actions ... when India will see that our intention and our investigations, and whatever information is provided to us, we are dealing on merit, I think that would help our relationship," he added.

Noting that Uzbek, Chechen, Arab and Afghan terrorists were operating in Pakistan, Mr. Gilani contended that such persons should be countered but an attack could not be launched on their country of origin.

"Even I heard some information coming from India that anything of such nature will happen again, we will make Pakistan responsible," he said.

"Both are worried"

Replying to a question on whether he worried about another attack on India, Mr. Gilani said, "They are worried, we are worried too."

"How can we take care of two countries because they have their own intelligence agencies?"

Mr. Gilani said: "Every country says we'll take on Pakistan, and whatever happens anywhere in the world they say we'll take on Pakistan."

"I have talked to the world community: okay we are serious, you are serious, let's look into how we resolve the issue. We should go into the root cause, we are ready to cooperate with you."

Lacks resources

The Prime Minister contended that Pakistan was an underdeveloped country that did not have the resources to fully counter terrorism.

"When it comes to Pakistan, the world should also understand that they have to build up the capacity of Pakistan too."

The Premier said he wanted to resolve the issues of his people and that Pakistan did not "want war with any country and we can't afford war."

Benazir's killing

He insisted that the suicide bombings on the slain former Premier Benazir Bhutto's motorcade in Karachi after her return home from self-imposed exile in October 2007 was "much, much more than" the Mumbai attacks.

Mr. Gilani gave an assurance that Pakistani soil "will not be used for terrorism against anybody because that is our responsibility ... we are a peaceful country, we want to maintain excellent relations with our neighbours, and we have to focus on the real issues."

Pakistan would also amend its anti-terrorism laws if the need arose as the existing legislation "doesn't apply to people who have committed an offence outside" the country.-PTI Related stories

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