ISLAMABAD, Dec 3: Pakistan has told the Unites States that it is not involved in the Mumbai carnage, directly or indirectly, and that any aggression from the Indian side will compel it to move its forces fighting militants in the tribal areas to the Indian border.
Pakistan’s position was conveyed by President Asif Ali Zardari during a meeting with US Joint Chief of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen here on Wednesday.
Admiral Mullen also met army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Chairman Gen Tariq Majeed, National Security Adviser Mahmud Durrani and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Lt-Gen Shuja Pasha.
According to sources, the commanders made it clear that the ‘war on terror’ would not be Pakistan’s top priority if there was any unusual military build-up by India along the borders. National integrity would not be compromised at any cost, they said.
About the list of people sought by India, the president said: They would be tried in Pakistan if evidence against them was provided.
Admiral Mullen was told that US air attacks in tribal areas would have adverse effects on the war on terror because militants were gaining sympathy because of the attacks. “Such attacks will be counter-productive to collective efforts against terrorism in the region.”
The military leadership stressed Indian allegations about Pakistan’s involvement in the Mumbai attacks would increase tension between the two countries.
Admiral Mullen said the US would play its role to defuse the tension.
Meanwhile, in an interview with the CNN, President Zardari rejected allegations about Pakistan’s involvement in the attacks. No evidence, he said, had been produced to substantiate such claims.
“The state of Pakistan is in no way responsible,” he said.
“I think these are stateless actors who have been operating throughout the region. Pakistan itself has been a victim of terrorism and fighting the menace resolutely,” he said.
“Even the White House and the American CIA have said that the state of Pakistan is not involved. We’re among the victims. I’m a victim. The state of Pakistan is a victim. We are victims of this war, and I am sorry for the Indians, and I feel sorry for them,” he said.
The president said the elected government had nothing to do with any militant activity against India.
“I can assure the world from my side, from my army’s side, from my parliament’s side and from the people of Pakistan that we are not helping any such activity.” Mr Zardari confirmed that he was willing to have Pakistani officials work with India in a joint investigation.
When asked about a suspect who is in Indian custody, he said: “We have not been given any tangible proof to say that he is definitely a Pakistani. I very much doubt that he is a Pakistani.” He said that stateless individuals were also killing people in Pakistan. “Like I said these are stateless individuals. We’ve had incidents over the past two days in Karachi where we’ve lost more than 40 to 45 people and hundreds injured. These are stateless actors who are moving throughout this region,” he added.