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Pak briefs foreign envoys on its 26/11 probe

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Jan 19, 2009 at 03:46pm IST

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Islamabad: Pakistan has launched a diplomatic counter offensive to neutralise India's charge that the 26/11 Mumbai attacks were carried out by Pakistani terrorists and also demanded that the Samjhauta Express bomb attack suspects be sent to Islamabad for trial.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik briefed ambassadors and high commissioners of most foreign missions in Islamabad at the Foreign Office.

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They briefed foreign diplomats of Pakistan's investigations into the Mumbai attacks in an attempt to tell the world that it has been doing its bit to root out terror.

PUTTING ON AN ACT: Qureshi reportedly told envoys that Pakistan has cracked down on Jamaat and Lashkar.

Prominent envoys present at the briefing included the United States of America Ambassador, British High Commissioner and envoys of many European Union countries.

ALSO SEE India inconsistent on Mumbai probe: Pakistan

Qureshi reportedly told the envoys that Pakistan had initiated a crackdown on the Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Lashker-e-Toiba following the Mumbai attacks.

He said that India had not yet responded to Pakistan's offers to conduct a joint investigation into the Mumbai terror attacks and to send a high-level delegation to the neighbouring country to discuss modalities for such a probe.

This was the first major briefing for diplomats after the Mumbai attacks. The Pakistan government has faced criticism at home and abroad for its handling of the fallout of the Mumbai attack and its response to the diplomatic campaign mounted by India.

Media reports said Indian High Commissioner was not invited for the meeting because he had been briefed by Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir just a few days ago. Some officials also pointed out that Pakistani High Commissioner was not invited to similar briefings arranged by India.

The reports also suggested that the government might share with the envoys "new information" that has not been publicised so far for security reasons.

Malik reportedly said that Pakistan "can also demand extradition of Lieutenant Colonel Srikant Prasad Purohit".

Lieutenant Colonel Srikant Prasad Purohit is an accused in the September 29, 2008, Malegaon bomb blasts. Malik perhaps forgot that Lieutenant Colonel Purohit is not an accused in the Samjhauta Express bomb blast case.

Islamabad has assured the international community that it will conduct a thorough probe and bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks to justice.

Dawn News' Correspondent Arshad Sharif reported that after the Mumbai terror attacks, Pakistani Foreign Office has been working hard and trying to make sure that no information is leaked.

"Only few officials have been authorised to speak to the media. The dossier from India is now being considered as leads and preliminary investigation is on. The report is expected in 10 days and after that may be another investigation will be launched," Arshad Sharif said.

Meanwhile, Minister of State for Defence MM Pallam Raju says that Pakistan's actions are an eyewash.

"Efforts made by Pakistan till now on the Mumbai evidence handed over to it are an eyewash," said Raju.

(With inputs from PTI)

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