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Can’t guarantee against 26/11 repeat: Pakistan

January 23, 2010

Holding that Pakistan itself was a victim of “Mumbai-like attacks”, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said Friday Islamabad could not guarantee there wouldn’t be “any more terrorist hits in India”.

“Pakistan is itself facing Mumbai-like attacks almost every other day. When we cannot protect our own citizens, how can we guarantee that there wouldn’t be any more terrorist hits in India?” Gilani told visiting US Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates late Thursday.

Gilani contended that the best way to prevent 26/11-type terror acts was to de-link the sub-continental peace process from action against extremists.

The prime minister said that as long as India held the peace process hostage to progress in action against terrorism, there could be no forward movement on normalising ties.

“Pakistan is committed to peace in the region and in this context has been making sincere efforts to resume Composite Dialogue with India, but the response from the other side has not been encouraging.

“Relations between India and Pakistan should not become hostage to the activities of terrorists,” the prime minister maintained.

Gilani’s remarks came two days after Gates said in New Delhi that India could not be expected to show the same restraint it had in the wake of Nov 26-29, 2008, Mumbai carnage if the attacks recurred.

“India has responded with great restraint and statesmanship after the Mumbai terror attacks. But the ability to continue with it after another attack is under question… It is not reasonable to assume that Indian patience is unlimited in case of another attack,” Gates said at a press conference after meeting Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony.

India had suspended the sub-continental peace process in the wake of the 26/11 attacks that led to the death of 166 people, including 26 foreigners. India says the process can resume only after Pakistan takes concrete action against the perpetrators of the assault.

Pakistan has admitted that part of the conspiracy for the attacks was hatched in this country.

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