Pakistan must bring Mumbai attack perpetrators to justice: US envoy

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New Delhi, Aug.12 (ANI): Timothy J Roemer, the new United States Ambassador to India, said on Wednesday that Pakistan must bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks to justice.

Roemer said that Washington stands firm with New Delhi in its fight against terrorism and it would testify this week in Mumbai over the November attacks, which killed at least 166 people.

"The United States stands firmly with India against terrorism. FBI officials are testifying this week in Mumbai in the 26/11 trials. We cannot forget that 6 Americans were killed along with dozens of Indians and so many others in that tragic and brutal attack. We would continue to seek justice for those killed and injured in Mumbai and will work closely with India to share with you the lessons we learnt in the wake of our tragic terror attacks in September 11 2001," Roemer, who has served in the commission which probed the 9/11 attacks, said.

When asked if United States would press Pakistan to act against Hafiz Saeed, the founder of a Pakistan-based group blamed for the Mumbai attacks, Roemer said Islamabad needs to bring to justice all those involved in the attacks.

"The United States position is firm, resolute and bold, that we are committed to shutting down terrorist networks around the world and shutting down financing of those networks. We want to work with government of India in enhancing our cooperation to achieve those results and that we want to bring the perpetrators of the blood thirsty attack on Mumbai to justice wherever they are I have communicated that to my government several times ... that the people held in Pakistan over the Mumbai attacks need to be brought to be justice and that includes everybody that I have mentioned," he added.

Pakistan said on Thursday (August 6) that evidence given by India failed to build a case for the arrest of Hafiz Saeed, the founder of a Pakistan-based group blamed for the Mumbai attacks, a stance certain to stoke anger in India.

India, which has insisted Pakistan act against Saeed and other members of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) for the November attacks in which 166 people were killed, last week handed a fresh dossier of evidence to Islamabad.

Saeed was detained in the wake of the November attacks after a U.N. Security Council resolution put him on a list of people and organisations supporting al Qaeda.

But in June, the Lahore High Court released him on grounds of insufficient evidence, prompting the Pakistan government to lodge an appeal with the Supreme Court for his re-arrest.

Responding to the travel advisory by the American government asking its citizens to maintain caution while travelling to India around the Independence Day, Roemer said the United States would be working closely with India if and when they issue such messages in the future.

"You noted in your question there has been a great deal of reporting in the Indian press in the week leading up to the Independence Day that threat level might increase. We are simply reiterating our concerns and also reflecting some other ways that terrorists have attacked around the globe in the past ...years, from Islamabad to Jakarta ... Bali and other places targeting specific areas. So we will continue to work closely with the Indian government if and when we issue these word messages in the future," Roemer said.

Tensions have remained high between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan since the attacks in November.

Last month the two sides agreed to restart dialogue, but India stopped short of resuming the peace process that was put on hold following the Mumbai carnage.

India wants to see Pakistan punish those responsible for the Mumbai attacks and dismantle "the infrastructure of terrorism" on Pakistani soil.

Pakistani officials have told diplomats privately that they cannot risk a major crackdown on militant groups like Lashkar, based in the central province of Punjab, as the army has its hands full fighting a Taliban insurgency in the northwest.

Pakistan has put on trial five militants accused of involvement in the attacks in which 166 people were killed and released photographs of 13 other suspects who have not yet been detained.

But India, which broke off peace talks with Pakistan following the attacks blamed on the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group, has complained that Islamabad is not moving fast enough in pursuing those responsible. (ANI)

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