Pranab blames Pak, PM calls ISI chief to Delhi

Written by Political Bureau | Agencies | New Delhi | Updated: Nov 30 2008, 04:21am hrs
Even as external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee on Friday pointed fingers at Pakistan saying preliminary information indicated the involvement of some elements in neighbouring countries in the terror strikes in Mumbai, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh received a call from President Asif Ali Zardari who assured him that Islamabad will cooperate with India in exposing and apprehending the culprits and masterminds behind the attacks.

Singh had earlier called on his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani requesting him send ISI chief to Delhi to share information on the terror attacks. Pakistans foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi was quick to deny Mukherjee allegation urging New Delhi not to play politics, and that the two countries needed to tackle this collective issue together .

Qureshi, who is here on a four-day visit, said his principal objective in coming to India was to build bridges. I wanted and want to turn the tide of confrontation to cooperation, he said at a media interaction organised by the Indian Womens Press Corps.

Talking to the mediapersons in Jodhpur , external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee said, According to preliminary information, some elements in Pakistan are responsible for the Mumbai terror attacks.

Please keep the promise you made. Please dismantle infrastructure (of terrorists), arrest them, Mukherjee said while reminding Pakistan of its Jan 6, 2004 pledge not to allow its territory to be used for terror attacks against India .

We are talking to them that you (they) should share information with us, and on the basis of information given to you (Pakistan), please act, Mukherjee said, adding that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was planning to talk to Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari over the Mumbai attacks.

Islamabad had reiterated this assurance at a meeting Singh had with Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari on the margins of the UN General Assembly session earlier this year in September. India and Pakistan deal with terrorism-related issues in home secretary-level talks and in the joint anti-terror mechanism they set up over two years ago.

According to strategic experts elements in Pakistan are to be blamed for masterminding and executing the terror strikes in Mumbai, but were not sure whether these elements enjoyed the patronage of the nine-month-old civilian government in that country.

It could be rogue elements or jihadi elements in Pakistan who may not be under the control of the Pakistani government, K Subrahmanyam, a strategic expert.

We should tell the international community that Pakistan is a failing state which does not have control over people living in its territory. All these jihadi elements are freely roaming in the streets of Pakistan , Subrahmanyam suggested.

Indian security agencies have said that the existing evidence pointed to LeT whose men used the sea route from Karachi to launch a string of coordinated terror strikes Wednesday night.

Intelligence agencies of worlds major powers and terrorism experts have hinted that the terrorists involved in the attacks could be closely linked to the al-Qaeda network, intelligence agencies of worlds. Bruce Riedel, a veteran CIA officer and former senior director for South Asia and the Middle East on the White House National Security Council, said the attacks had the hallmarks of an al Qaeda-affiliated Islamic group such as Lashkar-e Toiba (LeT), which is based in Pakistan and has links to ISI.

In Moscow , a senior official at one of Russia s spy agencies, directly blamed the al-Qaeda linked group for the Mumbai attacks saying: The Russian secret services have information that certain groups that have carried out attacks in Mumbai have contacts with Al-Qaeda.