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India gives Pakistan evidence over Mumbai attacks

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[January 05, 2009]  NEW DELHI (AP) -- India gave Pakistan the most detailed evidence yet that it says ties the militants who attacked Mumbai to "elements" in Pakistan -- responding Monday to weeks of demands from Islamabad for proof that the siege was launched from across the border.

India has blamed the November attacks that killed 164 people on Pakistani-based militants, but Islamabad has denied the accusations and requested proof.

RestaurantThe evidence handed to the Pakistani High Commissioner in New Delhi on Monday included material from the interrogation of the lone surviving gunman, details of conversations between the gunmen and their alleged handlers in Pakistan, recovered weapons, and data from satellite phones, according to a statement from India's foreign ministry.

"This material is linked to elements in Pakistan," the statement said. "It is our expectation that the government of Pakistan will promptly undertake further investigations in Pakistan and share the results with us so as to bring the perpetrators to justice."

Pakistan's Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammed Sadiq said the authorities are reviewing the evidence and declined to comment further.

India has blamed the three-day siege on Lashkar-e-Taiba, a militant group based in Pakistan. Authorities there have arrested at least two men accused of planning the attacks and launched a nationwide crackdown on a charity believed to be a front for the militant group.


India has called on Pakistan to hand over the suspects and dismantle the terror network they say is based across the border. Pakistani leaders say they will try any suspects in the attacks in their own courts.

India's top security official, Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram, has said he suspects the Mumbai gunmen may have had ties to Pakistani authorities and not just militants in that country.

"In fact I will presume that they are state actors or state-assisted actors until the contrary is proved. No non-state actor can mount this attack without any kind of state help," Chidambaram told the news channel NDTV in an interview broadcast Sunday.

In the wake of the attacks, tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals have been high. Pakistan has redeployed troops toward India and away from the Afghan border, where authorities are battling militants.

Critics say the troop movement will hurt the Pakistani army's attempts to gain control of the lawless tribal region, where on Monday police found three bullet-riddled bodies they say were victims of the Taliban. The victims were a Pakistani construction contractor and two Afghan men the Taliban accused of spying for the United States, said police official Akhtar Salam.

India has worked for weeks to marshal global pressure on Pakistan, and Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee said the evidence handed over to Islamabad would also be shared with the international community.

Pakistan's Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik said, however, "we will not take pressure from anyone."

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U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher arrived in Islamabad on Monday and met with Pakistani leaders, including Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, who said he assured Boucher "that we will not allow our soil to be used for any kind of terrorism. I also said that to create conducive environment it would be the best for Pakistan and India that we resolve core issues like Kashmir."

India and Pakistan have fought three wars against each other since they gained independence in 1947 -- two over Kashmir, a majority Muslim region in the Himalayas claimed by both countries. Despite increased tensions, Indian leaders have made clear they do not want to fight a fourth.

Pakistan's leaders have veered back and forth from confrontational statements to conciliatory ones and on Sunday Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the country wanted "good relations with its neighbors."

Much of India's evidence against the militants comes from interrogations of Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, the only gunman to survive the attacks. He has reportedly told authorities he and nine others were Pakistani, he was trained in Pakistan, and his handlers are still there.

Pakistan has said it has no record of Kasab as a Pakistani citizen. Malik said Monday authorities were still examining his claim.

The Mumbai attacks began Nov. 26 and lasted for nearly three days. The 10 gunmen attacked 10 sites across India's financial capital, including two five-star hotels, the main train station, popular restaurants and a Jewish center.

[Associated Press; By SAM DOLNICK]

Associated Press reporters Nahal Toosi and Asif Shahzad in Islamabad, Ashok Sharma in New Delhi and Khalid Tanveer in Multan, Pakistan, contributed to this report.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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