Zardari hopes India, Pak relations would be normalised soon

Last Updated 15 September 2009, 16:53 IST

"I don't think the issue of Hafiz Saeed is a major hurdle in the normalisation of our relations. I am hopeful that relations between the two countries will be restored very soon," Zardari told reporters during an 'Iftar' at the presidency last evening.

Zardari's comments came ahead of the meetings of Foreign Ministers and Foreign Secretaries of the two countries on the sidelines of UN General Assembly session in New York.

India has accused Pakistan of not taking action to prosecute the 26/11 perpetrators despite 10 months having passed by. Zardari said Pakistan is committed to fighting terrorism and no one should have any doubts about this.

"My government's biggest achievement is flushing out extremists from the Malakand division and other areas and this move has the full backing of the people of Pakistan and all political forces," he said.

Attorney General Latif Khosa, Pakistan's senior-most legal official, earlier told reporters that the evidence provided by India is "not enough" to prosecute Saeed, whom New Delhi has described as the mastermind of the Mumbai attacks.

"How can we prosecute him (Saeed) in the court without evidence?" Khosa argued.
In the past few days, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has reiterated that the Mumbai attacks were an "abominable crime" but the two countries need to move forward instead of remaining preoccupied with the incident. "Pakistan has already expressed its sincere desire for dialogue and has no problem in resuming talks," Qureshi said.

Qureshi is expected to meet his Indian counterpart S M Krishna on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York later this month. He has said he does not attach "high hopes" to the meeting but is hopeful that it will lead to the resumption of the composite dialogue, which has been stalled since the Mumbai attacks.

After Home Minister P Chidambaram raised the Mumbai incident during his four-day visit to the US, American officials called on Pakistan to continue their investigation and bring the perpetrators of the attacks to justice.

Five Lashker-e-Taiba operatives, including operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, and two other suspects arrested by Pakistani authorities are currently facing trial in an anti-terror court for alleged involvement in facilitating the Mumbai attacks.

(Published 15 September 2009, 16:53 IST)

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