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Pakistan to dispatch intelligence agent, not chief

Latest update : 2008-11-30

Pakistan has condemned the Mumbai attacks and denied any involvement, but the office of the Pakistani prime minister said in a statement that an ISI representative would go to India instead of the director general.

Watch our report: 'Pakistan struggles to reform intelligence agency'

 

(Reuters) - Pakistan will send a representative of its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency to Mumbai to help with investigations of attacks there, not its director general, the prime minister's office said.

India blamed on Friday "elements" from Pakistan for the coordinated assault on its financial capital, Mumbai, raising the prospect of a breakdown in peace efforts between the nuclear-armed rivals.

The attacks on two luxury hotels and other sites around Mumbai came after Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, widower of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto who was assassinated last year, had made bold moves to improve ties with India.

Pakistan condemned the Mumbai attacks and denied any involvement and in an unprecedented step, agreed to let the head of its military's ISI go to India to share information at the request of the Indian prime minister.

But the Pakistani prime minister's office said in a statement an ISI representative would go to India instead of the director general. It gave no other details.

The two countries have fought three wars since their independence in 1947 and went to the brink of war again after a December 2001 militant attack on India's parliament that India linked to Pakistan.

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi was in India on a scheduled visit aimed at boosting ties when the assault in Mumbai began.

He said on Friday anti-terrorism cooperation had to be strengthened and called on India not to play a blame game.

An official at the Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi said Qureshi was cutting short his visit and returning to Pakistan. Qureshi had been due to return later on Saturday at the end of his four-day visit.

"He is at the airport and about to leave on a special plane sent from Pakistan," said the High Commission official.

Qureshi had been due to meet an Indian opposition leader and some other politicians on Saturday but those meetings had been cancelled, the official said.

Pakistan for years supported militants battling Indian forces in the disputed Kashmir region but began to rein them in after the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.

Taliban and al Qaeda militants have carried out a series of bomb attacks in Pakistan, most on political leaders and the security forces, including the ISI.

But analysts say security agents still have links with some Kashmiri militants.

The use of heavily armed "fedayeen" or suicide attackers in Mumbai bears the hallmarks of Pakistan-based militant groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba or Jaish-e-Mohammed, blamed for the 2001 attack on India's parliament.

Date created : 2008-11-29