Pakistan connection in Mumbai attacks: Pranab Mukherjee

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Jodhpur (Rajasthan), Nov 28 : External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee has said that preliminary and prima facie evidence indicates Pakistani connection in Mumbai attacks.

Mukherjee told the media persons in Jodhpur today that the initial investigations indicated that Pakistani elements have been in touch with the perpetrators of Mumbai attacks.

"Preliminary evidence and prima facie evidence indicate that there is some connection between these (Mumbai attackers) elements and Pakistan elements. As of now nothing can be said with certainty about them or from where they came as investigation is being carried out but evidences indicates that Pakistani elements have been in touch with them," said Mukherjee.

Earlier on Thursday, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh had in his broadcast to the nation blamed "external forces" for the violence, a phrase often used to refer to Pakistani militants.

According to reports, at least one of the gunmen has been apprehended by the police who is believed to be a Pakistani.

The mention of the attackers possibly having Pakistani origins threaten to provoke tension in relations between the nuclear armed neighbours, which had been steadily improving.

Mukerjee also rejected American offer of Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) help in investigations.

"FBI is an intelligence agency of America they operate in America. The American President asked Prime Minister Dr. Singh if he requires any assistance, American Foreign Secretary rang me and asked do you require support and assistance. I told her, thank you madam, we do not require your help. We have confidence in our own system. We are running the country for 61 years, we do not require the support and help of others in this matter," said Mukherjee.

A US State Department official had said on Thursday evening that a U.S. investigative team was heading to Mumbai but the official declined to identify which agency or agencies the team members came from.

According to the media reports the US has dispatched FBI team to help Indian agencies in carrying out investigation in Mumbai attacks, which has claimed 121 lives and left more than 300 people injured.

At least eight foreigners, including an Australian, a Briton, an Italian and a Japanese national have been killed. Scores of others were trapped in the fighting or were being held hostage.

ANI

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