Pak PM Gilani says India needs to provide more evidence on Lashkar role in 26/11

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Washington, Apr.13 (ANI): Interacting with media at a roundtable meeting here, Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said Monday he needed more evidence from India about the Lashkar-e-Toiba militant group being behind the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai.

Emphatically stating that Pakistani soil would not be used for extremist activity, and particularly for attacks on neighbouring India, Gilani said: "We don't want our soil used against any country and neither would we allow somebody else's soil to be used against Pakistan." Confirming that President Barack Obama had raised the issue of the Lashkar-e-Taiba and its alleged role in 26/11 with him during their meeting on Sunday, Gilani said Pakistan has already banned several extremist groups and even frozen their bank accounts.

"If we have more effective evidence (on the Lashkar-e-Toiba's role in 26/11), certainly they will be brought to justice," Gilani said.

Gilani's comments came a day after Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said that Prime Minister Singh had in his meeting with Obama urged him to put pressure on Pakistan to rein in Lashkar-e-Toiba.

American officials have reportedly told Pakistan to crack down on militants inimical to India, but have simultaneously welcomed Islamabad's actions against other Islamic extremists elsewhere, including against Afghan militants and the homegrown Taliban.

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who was accompanying Gilani on the visit, said that diplomacy was "the only way forward" to restore trust between Islamabad and New Delhi.

"We have to look beyond Mumbai. Mumbai was sad, Mumbai was tragic, but we are as much victims of terrorism as India is and so this terrorist threat becomes a common challenge," Qureshi said.

He also expressed concern about the Congress Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) attitude toward Pakistan, but added "Prime Minister Manmohan Singh means well. We have no doubt about that."

"But the problem is that he has not been able to carry domestic politics along within the Congress Party and the BJP," he said.

The BJP "has been very hawkish on him, I think unfair to him, and unfair to the region because... coexistence is the most sensible way forward," Qureshi said. By Smita Prakash (ANI)

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