New Delhi: The Hafiz Saeed issue remains a sticking point in talks between India and Pakistan as Islamabad demands solid proof for courts to convict the Lashkar-e-Toiba founder. Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani reacted to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's remarks to Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari in Delhi on Sunday, linking progress in bilateral talks to action against the alleged 26/11 mastermind.
Gilani said, "We are serious on the issue of Saeed but the question is how to proceed against him without evidence. Courts here are independent and we need substantial evidence against him."
Gilani further said it had been agreed that the Interior and Home Secretaries of the two countries will discuss the issue when they meet on April 16.
Responding to India's demand for action against Saeed, Gilani said Pakistan was serious on the issue but needed evidence.
He said that former premier Nawaz Sharif too had asked him about the government's stance on the issue of Saeed. Saeed, the founder of the Lashkar e-Taiba, has been in focus after the US offered a $ 10 million bounty for him last week.
Gilani has said in Parliament that the case of Saeed is an "internal issue" of Pakistan and any evidence against him should be provided to Islamabad so that it could be examined by the courts.
Responding to a question about groups like JuD fanning extremism in Pakistan, Gilani said: "I have ordered action against all proscribed organisations".
He said there should be peace between India and Pakistan and it was in the interest of both countries as well as the region.
"(Indian Prime Minister) Manmohan Singh and I are committed to bringing stability to the region. We will take every possible step towards peace and stability," he said hours after President Asif Ali Zardari met Singh in New Delhi.
Asked about trade with India, Gilani said: "Trade relations are beneficials for each other. Even China had asked us to have trade with India as it is good for both countries". He said the Pakistan People's Party-led government had the mandate of the opposition and the people to forge good relations with India.
"The army should be with us on this matter," he added. He said President Zardari daylong private tour of India would help improve relations between the two countries.
(With additional information from PTI)