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Pakistan pressed on India attacks

Condoleezza Rice calls for Pakistan's 'cooperation.' She will visit India Wednesday.

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But numerous reports quote police officials saying that they believe the militants were trained in Pakistan. The most likely culprit is Lashkar-e-Taiba. According to a police official, the only gunman captured alive after the attacks claimed to belong to the militant group, which was created in 1989 to foment insurgency in Kashmir. The group has denied involvement in the Mumbai attacks.

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Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari's civilian government has gone to great lengths to insist that it will honestly investigate any claim that Pakistanis were involved. In an interview Sunday with The Hindu, an Indian newspaper, he stated that "if any evidence points to any individual or group in my part of the country, I shall take the strictest of actions ... without any hesitation."

Yet the old fault lines that have made the India-Pakistan problem so intractable show signs of resurfacing.

Shortly after the attacks, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani made an unprecedented offer to send the head of Pakistan's top intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate (ISI), to India to clear the air. The offer was promptly withdrawn; neither the country nor the Army would tolerate it. Indian accusations of a Pakistani hand in the attacks have been branded as a "smear campaign" by news outlets, which have told the government to counter "Indian aggression."

It points to a coming test. India does not want to provoke Pakistan further, says C. Raja Mohan, a political analyst at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. That would only strengthen the hawkish elements in Pakistan's public and Army, he says.

Instead, "Let's test out what Zardari is saying," he says. "Is he serious about acting against these groups?"

The problem is that Mr. Zardari's government is probably too weak to take such action, even if there is convincing evidence.

"This is going to be extremely difficult for the government if it is asked [by India] to go after Kashmiri-based militants," says Hassan Askari Rizvi, an independent political analyst in Lahore. "It would be suicidal for the government to begin a wide crackdown without taking everyone at home aboard first."

On Sunday, Mr. Gilani called a conference of political leaders to discuss the current situation. But winning support to go after Kashmir-based militants is unlikely. The Pakistani Army is already stretched by operations against militants along the Afghan border. And while that war is unpopular in Pakistan, a move against Kashmiri militants would be hugely more so. Most Pakistanis believe that India illegally occupied Muslim-majority Kashmir in 1947, and the countries have fought two wars over the territory since.

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