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Terrorism & Security

Rice urges Pakistan to ‘act quickly’ in Mumbai terror investigation

During a visit to India Wednesday, the US secretary of State said Pakistan’s cooperation could help smooth fragile India-Pakistan relations.

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Pakistan has thus far tried to play down the role of Pakistani militant groups, according to The Times of India.

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Pakistan on Monday said it is yet to "see evidence" backing India's allegations of a Pakistani link to the terror strikes in Mumbai but promised to "act responsibly" on the issue....
[Prime Minister Yousuf Raza] Gilani demanded that India should provide evidence before levelling any allegations about Pakistan's involvement in the Mumbai attacks. "We have yet to see evidence," he said.

On Tuesday, Pakistan sought to defuse tensions by proposing "a joint mechanism with India to investigate the Mumbai carnage as part of its offer of complete cooperation in efforts to unearth 'the hands behind the dastardly act,' " Pakistan's Dawn newspaper reported.

The proposal was made at a briefing by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi to foreign diplomats a day before US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice begins her visit to the region.

Despite the overtures, The Wall Street Journal contends that the new evidence "is giving fresh ammunition to the Indian government, which has long tried to pressure Pakistan into cracking down on Lashkar-e-Taiba. India claims the group enjoys support from elements of the Pakistani intelligence agency. Pakistan denies that. It outlawed the organization in 2002, but has done little to curtail its operations."

For now, Reuters India reports, India has backed away from threats of a military retaliation.

India's Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee said military action was not being considered but later warned a peace process begun in 2004 was at risk if Pakistan did not act decisively.
"It has vitiated the atmosphere," Mukherjee said of the attacks in an interview to NDTV television. "While we have no intention of not carrying on with the peace process, when people's sentiments are affected it creates an atmosphere not to carry on business as usual, it has some impact."
Public sentiment in India has focused more domestically, with protests over government handling of the attacks scheduled for Wednesday night in Mumbai, Reuters reports.
A large protest was planned in Mumbai on Wednesday night by residents more angry at what they see as a huge government security failure than Pakistani involvement.
Advertising executive Sunil Agarwal, 42, said India's intelligence apparatus should be disbanded.
"What use do we have for them? Look at the U.S. after 9/11. There have been no more attacks. That's because their security apparatus is so effective. Their politicians value human life. Ours don't," he told Reuters.

In Pakistan, the Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi appeared on television to calm nerves, Dawn reports. "I will like to tell the people of Pakistan that there is no cause for worry. The government and armed forces of Pakistan are united and capable of defending the country's borders and interests," he said.

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