Pakistan rejects accusations about Mumbai bombings


Fri, Jul 14, 2006 - Page 5

Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri warned against "knee-jerk" reactions saddling his country with blame for the bomb blasts which killed at least 200 people in Mumbai.

In an interview with CNN broadcast on Wednesday, Kasuri said India should be careful about ant attempt to attribute the attacks to Pakistan-based militants.

Kasuri repeated his firm condemnation of Tuesday's attacks, which he had already called "ghastly" but went on to ask "why should there be finger pointing every time?"

"India is a vast country, there are attacks in other parts of India, there should not be a knee-jerk reaction that everything happening in India starts in Pakistan," he said.

Earlier, Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna said Islamic militants continued to operate from Pakistan despite Islamabad's promise that it would not allow its soil to be used as a springboard for attacks.

"We urge Pakistan to take urgent steps to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism on the territory under its control," the Indian spokesman said.

Sarna also criticized Kasuri for linking the decades-old dispute over the divided region of Kashmir to the bomb attacks on rush hour trains on Tuesday.

"We find it appalling that [Pakistani] Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri should seek to link this act of terror to the lack of resolution of the dispute between India and Pakistan," Sarna said.

"His remarks appear to suggest that Pakistan will cooperate with India against the scourge of terrorist violence only if the so-called disputes are resolved. Terrorism cannot be tolerated on any ground whatsoever and no cause justifies the murder of innocents," Sarna told reporters.

Kasuri, in comments to an Indian television station on Tuesday's bombings, called on India to resolve its dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir -- the subject of two of the three wars between the nuclear-armed rivals.

"... If you have these disputes, it enables negative forces in both the countries to blame the other country and exploit the sentiment and one cannot be certain," Kasuri told CNN-IBN.

"So I think we should try and take advantage of this improved atmosphere [between India and Pakistan] and resolve outstanding differences, particularly the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir," the Pakistani foreign minister said in Washington.