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Pakistan PM hands information to India on Mumbai

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[January 09, 2009]  ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) -- Pakistan's main spy agency has given India information about the Mumbai terror attacks, the prime minister said Friday, while denying media speculation of a rift between him and the president.

The comments came as U.S. Vice President-elect Joe Biden arrived in Pakistan for talks with the country's top military and political leaders. The U.S. Embassy confirmed the visit but gave few details.

The U.S. has an interest in the stability of Pakistan's civilian government -- which is considered weak -- because of its support of the American-led war on terror. There are multiple centers of power within the government, and the military and the Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency are believed to have significant independence.

The November attacks in Mumbai that killed 164 people underscored the threat terrorism poses to the whole of South Asia. New Delhi says it has passed on evidence to Islamabad that proves Pakistani militants were behind the slaughter.

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani told reporters the ISI "had given feedback and information sharing that has been passed on to India" after studying that evidence. He gave no more details.

On Wednesday, Gilani fired the national security adviser hours after the official told reporters the sole surviving Mumbai attacker was a Pakistani citizen -- something that Islamabad had previously been unwilling to acknowledge.


Local media reported President Asif Ali Zardari was not informed of the decision, intensifying earlier media speculation of a split between the country's top two leaders.

Analysts say there is confusion at times over who is in charge in Pakistan.

Upon taking office Zardari promised to support reducing the presidency's powers, but there has been little visible progress on that front. Zardari, who also heads the ruling Pakistan People's Party, is believed to be stronger than Gilani, even though the prime minister is technically the chief executive of the government.

Both officials have sought to downplay reports they are feuding.

"There is no misunderstanding," Gilani insisted to reporters Friday, while denying reports that Zardari was displeased with the decision to sack the adviser, Mahmood Ali Durrani.

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A Zardari spokesman said Thursday that the two were "on the same page" and it was Gilani's prerogative to fire Durrani.

The Mumbai attackers are suspected to be members of Lashkar-e-Taiba -- a militant group created by Pakistani intelligence agencies in the 1980s to fight Indian rule in Kashmir, a Himalayan region claimed by both countries and the trigger for two of their three wars.

Some analysts say the group maintains ties to Pakistani intelligence and that the government cannot act too aggressively against it as a result.

In recent weeks, several U.S. envoys have visited India and Pakistan to defuse tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbors and press Islamabad to take action against extremists on its soil.

Biden is traveling to Pakistan in his capacity as a U.S. senator. He is being accompanied by U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham. Biden takes office as vice president on Jan. 20, but has not yet resigned his Senate seat.

[Associated Press; By CHRIS BRUMMITT]

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


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