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Pak mum on 26/11 link, tones down war rhetoric

Jan 02, 2009 08:50 AM IST India India
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New Delhi: A day after the Wall Street Journal reported that Lashkar top commanders Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi and Zarrar Shah have confessed to masterminding the Mumbai terror attacks, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that his government can't comment on the matter. In conversation with Geo TV’s Hamid Mir, the Minister said, “I don’t want to comment on the Wall Street Journal story, it might influence the investigation process.” Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Thursday said that his country had made significant developments in the probe into the Mumbai terrorist attacks, which left more than 180 people dead and over 300 injured. However, Qureshi added, “We have a common enemy. We have to defeat it together. Pakistan is always ready for constructive co-operation and will definitely help with the investigations.” The WSJ cited a Pakistani security official saying that at least one top Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) commander, Zarar Shah, has admitted, during interrogation, that he played a role in the Mumbai attacks. A second person familiar with the investigation said Shah reportedly admitted to Pakistani officials that he was one of the key planners of the operation and that he spoke with the attackers during the rampage to give them advice and keep them focused. Shah reportedly said the 10 gunmen were trained in the Pakistani part of the mountainous Kashmir region and then went by boat from Karachi to Mumbai, according to the WSJ report. Before leaving, the attackers spent at least a few weeks in Karachi where they were trained in urban combat to hone skills they would use in their assault. Meanwhile, New Delhi has demanded that Pakistan extradite suspects involved in the Mumbai attacks. Pakistan has refused so far, but has condemned the action. Simultaneously, it has asked India to share evidence, if it has some, against any "non-state Pakistani actors”. "There is no extradition treaty between India and Pakistan. If there are some people involved in it (the Mumbai attacks) and India shares evidence with us, we will take action against them under our judicial system." "We are sincere in our investigations and I want to tell you we won't be putting Pakistan's credibility on stake," Qureshi pledged. To recent Indian demands that Pakistan should dismantle terrorist infrastructure, Pakistan's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Mohammad Sadiq said that terrorist elements were found in every society and religion. "Pakistan, India and other countries of the region need to follow a cooperative, and not accusatory, approach to jointly deal with this menace, he added.