No request yet from India for a meeting with PM Gilani: Pak spokesman

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Thimphu (Bhutan), Apr.28 (ANI): India is yet to make a formal request for a meeting between Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and Yousuf Raza Gilani, the spokesman of the Pakistan Foreign Office, Abdul Basit, said on Wednesday.

Interacting with media here on the sidelines of the XVIth SAARC Summit, Basit said: "Both countries have realized that there has to be a meaningful and constructive dialogue. If they meet, our Prime Minister's efforts will be to start such an engagement, so that all issues of terrorism and others are solved."

"There has been no request for a meeting from the Indian side, but yes, this meeting was part of our roadmap which was given to India in New York by our Foreign Minister (Shah Mehmood Qureshi) to Indian External Affairs Minister (S.M. Krishna), and then again, by our Foreign Secretary (Salman Bashir) to Indian Foreign Secretary (Nirupama Rao) on February 25 in New Delhi. So yes, this meeting in Bhutan was part of our roadmap, but unfortunately India did not respond to that roadmap," Basit added.

Commenting on India's repeated demand that Pakistan take action against 26/11 prime accused and Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, Basit said: "They (India) know that we have done enough. He (Saeed) was detained twice, but we have an independent and fair judiciary, as is the case in India. How can you arrest someone on hearsay? As far as Pakistan's position is concerned, it is resolved to fight militancy, resolved to fight terrorism to the hilt. The entire world recognizes that. It is unfortunate that India does not see the ground reality and how Pakistan is coping up with the entire situation."

When further asked whether the legal evidence provided so far by New Delhi not enough to prosecute Saeed, Basit said "That can be implied."

He also said that Pakistan is sparing no effort in collecting more evidence with regard to the case, and added that he hoped India would respond positively to Islamabad's request for the handing over of lone surviving terrorist Ajmal Kasab for questioning and corroboration of evidence.

"I hope, India is currently examining our request and we hope that they will get back with a positive response," he said.

On the issue of the Indian diplomat's arrest for allegedly passing on secrets to Pakistani intelligence agencies, Basit said that it was an internal matter of the Indian Government, and added that he did not think it would have any bearing on SAARC activities. By Naveen Kapoor (ANI)

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