26/11: Pak clueless as minister contradicts PM

In fresh embarrassment to Pakistan government,Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani's statement on the possibility of sending an investigation team to India was contradicted by his cabinet colleague Sherry Rehman,who denied that any such move had been initiated by Islamabad.

Written by Agencies | Islamabad | Published:February 19, 2009 1:11 pm

In fresh embarrassment to Pakistan government,Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani’s statement on the possibility of sending an investigation team to India was contradicted by his cabinet colleague Sherry Rehman,who denied that any such move had been initiated by Islamabad.

“We confirmed with the Foreign Office,there has been no such move decided yet on the part of Pakistan,” Information Minister Rehman said shortly after Gilani had stated that Pakistan is considering the possibility of sending an FIA team to India as part of its probe into the Mumbai attacks.

Gilani had said that New Delhi had requested for a team of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) probing the Pakistani links to Mumbai attacks to visit India to aid in the probe.

“It is India’s wish that an FIA team should visit the country to share further information,” Gilani,who was in Lahore on an official visit,told reporters onWednesday.

“We are seriously considering the request. We have no objection to the FIA team going to India and holding meetings to get further information to take the case forward,” he said.

Gilani’s statement was contradicted by Rehman,who dismissed it as media speculation.

It was not immediately clear when India had made the request for the Pakistani investigators to visit the country.

Gilani,who also said that India is yet to reply to questions submitted by Pakistan along with its response to the Indian dossier on the Mumbai attacks,gave no further details of the Indian request for a probe team.

Pakistan had spoken in two voices on the issue of the custody of the captured Mumbai attacker Ajmal Amir Kasab,with the Foreign Office negating an earlier statement that a formal request had been made by Pakistan to India for handing over of the gunman.

Pakistan “has made no formal request to India as yet” for Kasab’s custody,Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said in a brief statement.

The statement came hours after Deputy Attorney General Sardar Mohammad Ghazi,who has been appointed Special Public Prosecutor for the trial of Pakistani suspects linked to the Mumbai attacks,said Kasab is the “prime suspect” and it would be difficult to prosecute the other accused in this country if he is not handed over to Pakistan.

“The government of Pakistan has formally requested the Indian government to hand over the custody of Ajmal Kasab because he is the prime suspect and the rest of these suspects,they are abettors,they abetted the crime,” Ghazi told Dawn News channel.

Officials of the Indian High Commission too said they had not received any formal request from Pakistani authorities for the handing over of Kasab.

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