Pakistan challenges India to a debate over 26/11 probe

Islamabad, Sep 11 ( Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik Friday challenged India to a “debate” during the coming session of the UN General Assembly over the conduct of its probe into the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

Talking to reporters here, Malik asked India to stop the blame game and resume talks with Pakistan. Malik’s remarks came a day after India Thursday conveyed to the US its displeasure over Pakistan’s “reluctance” to take action against militants arrested for their role in the Mumbai terror attacks and letting their suspected mastermind go free.

Malik said that Pakistan had started the trial of the five militants with transparency. The hearings would begin after Eid and are likely to be completed in two to two-and-a-half months.

Urging India not to cast doubts on Pakistan’s sincerity, he said that as Pakistan respected Indian courts, India should respect Pakistan’s courts as well.

About Laskhar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder Hafiz Saeed, Malik said he had been released by the Pakistani courts for want of evidence.

Responding to a question, the minister said this was not the right time to indulge in the blame game as people of both countries wanted cordial relations. He added Pakistan also wanted the culprits involved in the Samjhauta Express bombing, in which several Pakistani nationals were killed, to be brought to trial.

India’s Home Minister P. Chidambaram, who met Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, other government officials and key lawmakers on his second day in Washington, said he briefed US leaders on the quick progress made in the Mumbai terror trial as compared to Pakistan’s “reluctance to take action” against five to six militants arrested for their role in 26/11 and releasing their “mastermind” Hafiz Saeed.