Islamabad: US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice said Pakistan’s government has been given sufficient evidence to take action against suspects in last week’s deadly terrorist attacks in Mumbai.
Pakistan’s leadership is very focused and very committed to acting against those who planned the attack, Rice said after meeting President Asif Ali Zardari and Army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani in Islamabad on Friday. India has blamed elements in Pakistan for the attacks and has asked Zardari’s government to extradite 20 suspected terrorists.
Mediation effort: US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Emilio Morenatti / AP
There is a lot of information about what happened here, a lot of information, Rice said. Rice is pushing the government in Islamabad to cooperate with India’s investigation to prevent an escalation of tension between the nuclear-armed neighbours. The Mumbai assault targeted the city’s main railway station and three five-star hotels, leaving at least 183 people dead.
The information needs to be used now to get the perpetrators, Rice said. There needs to be action, urgently and transparently, and that is a message that has been well received here in Pakistan.
Pakistan will not only assist in the investigation but also take strong action against any Pakistani elements found involved in the attack, Zardari said in a statement.
The Bush administration wants to ensure the attacks don’t damage the more than five-year-old peace process between Pakistan and India, which have fought three wars since 1947, two over Kashmir.
Rice declined to say how confident she is that the two governments will work together on the investigation.
I hope they will keep the lines of communication open, she said.
In Washington, the White House called on Pakistan to “act with resolve, urgency” in cooperating with India on the probe into attacks in Mumbai.
“Pakistan needs to act with resolve, urgency. They need to cooperate fully and transparently and they need to keep the line of communication open between their country and India,” said spokeswoman Dana Perino.
Condoleezza Rice, who just visited India and Pakistan, was expected to brief US President George W. Bush in person.
(AFP contributed to this story.)