New York, Sept.24 : Pakistan's Information and Broadcasting Minister, Sherry Rehman, on Wednesday categorically rejected a Mumbai Police assertion that the ring leader of the squad used for conducting the serial bomb blasts in Ahmedabad in July this year was in Pakistan.
Talking to reporters on the sidelines of the 63rd UN General Assembly here and ahead of the meeting between President Asif Ali Zardari and Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, Rehman responding to Mumbai Police Commissioner Hasan Gafoor's statement that the arrested had their training in Pakistan, and that one main person involved was still in that country, said: "Until now there is no formal request (from New Delhi). Until we get it at the government to government level, it is just media speculation."
"We are working to counter terrorism with the whole world. There is no question of Pakistan playing a central role in terrorism. We have lost hundreds of thousands of innocent lives through these terror strikes. We have a thousand or more soldiers on our border with Afghanistan to prevent foreigners from crossing into our country illegally," she added.
As far as the so called tribal badlands of Pakistan were concerned, Rehman said that Islamabad has been taking initiatives to develop the remote and impoverished region with the help of investments from various quarters.
She also described the latest bombing of the Marriot Hotel in Islamabad as tragic, and said that investigations are still on.
Earlier, The Mumbai Crime Branch today arrested five suspected terrorists of Indian Mujahideen, responsible for recent blasts in Delhi, Ahmedabad and other cities in the last three years.
The five have been identified as - Abdul Afzal Usmani, Mohammad Sadiq Shaikh, Mohammad Aarif Shaikh, Ahmed Zakir Shaikh and Shaikh Mohammad Ansari.
They said that all of the five arrested hailed from Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh.
They were arrested with explosives, detonators and guns, the Mumbai Crime Branch said Wednesday.
Afzal Usmani was arrested for placing the bomb at the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital and stealing cars used in the blasts.
Mohammed Sadiq Sheikh, one of the founding members of Indian Mujahideen, is among the five arrested.
Mumbai Police Commissioner Hasan Gafoor claimed that the police had foiled a major terror attack in Mumbai, which was the next target of the terrorists. By Naveen Kapoor