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RAW's role in Lahore attacks not ruled out, says Malik

Source: PTI
May 28, 2010 23:46 IST
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Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Friday said the involvement of India's Research and Analysis Wing intelligence agency in terror attacks on two mosques of the minority Ahmedi sect in Lahore could not be ruled out.

"About Balochistan (province), I am sure that RAW is involved in saboteur activities. But for Lahore we are investigating," he said while talking to mediapersons.

"The involvement of RAW cannot be ruled out. However, anything concrete would come forth after the investigation," Malik said, adding, the involvement of Taliban and Al Qaeda elements in the attack would also be probed.

Meanwhile, officials of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad were not available for comment. About 80 people were killed and over 100 injured when terrorists armed with suicide vests, grenades and assault rifles stormed the two mosques in Lahore, the capital of Punjab province.

A Punjabi faction of the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in a message sent to a TV news channel. Malik said the interior ministry had sent two security alerts to the Punjab government on May 13 and May 26 about possible terrorist activity in Lahore, Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

"But it is yet to be probed whether the security measures taken by the provincial government were adequate or not. I have sought a report from the Punjab government on the incident," he said.

According to the intelligence reports, a terrorist named Abdul Jabbar alias Nasrullah was planning to carry out attacks in Lahore while militant commander Qari Hussain was plotting attacks in Rawalpindi, Islamabad and Lahore using suicide jackets procured from the Bannu region in the country's northwest.

"One militant apprehended (during today's attack) hails from Punjab. Such people have their headquarters in Jhang. It is not a secret. They had been carrying out terrorist activities for years," he said, referring to the headquarters of the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

Malik said the federal government will provide all support to Punjab and that he would visit the province within a week to discuss the issue.

"I had always been vocal that such militants exist in Punjab. If two explosive-laden trucks are seen in Dera Ghazi Khan, what are they there for? Obviously, they have some objectives," he said.

Terrorism has been a menace for 25 years old and it is a challenging task to curb the terrorists, Malik said. "In the past, they used to carry out attacks on a daily basis. Now they act after a month or two. But it is government's resolve to uproot them in toto," he said.

Malik also said he had proposed to his Indian counterpart P Chidambaram that the two countries should discuss issues at the negotiating table as this was in the interest of both sides.

"We cannot see the loss of innocent lives. There is a need to devise a common strategy. Pakistan will lead in this regard as it has been a victim of terrorism and sacrificed its citizens, security forces personnel and law enforcement agencies officials," he said.

Pakistan also expects the international community to lend a hand to its efforts to fight terrorism and restore peace, he said. "The government would never lose its muscles.

A more aggressive action will be taken against mercenaries and killers of innocent citizens," Malik said.

Image: Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik

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