Thursday, November 27, 2008

Pakistan condemns Mumbai attack, offers cooperation

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan condemned on Thursday militant attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai in which at least 101 people have been killed, and promised full support and cooperation in fighting terrorism.

India has in the past accused elements in Pakistan of supporting Islamist militants battling Indian forces in the disputed Kashmir region, and of complicity in bomb attacks elsewhere in India.

In separate messages, President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani deplored the Mumbai attacks, the state-run APP news agency said.

"President Zardari stressed the need for taking strict measures to eradicate terrorism and extremism from the region," it said.

Gilani also strongly condemned the violence and said Pakistan had always opposed terrorism, the government said in a statement. Zardari, the widower of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, and Gilani came to power after February elections that restored democratic, civilian rule.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi arrived in India on Wednesday for a four-day visit that will include talks on the nuclear-armed rivals' tentative four-year peace process.

Their main dispute is over the Himalayan region of Kashmir, which both countries claim in full but rule in part. Pakistan offers political support for what it calls a freedom struggle in mostly Muslim Kashmir but denies supporting terrorism.

Qureshi said in a statement he was shocked and horrified by the "barbaric" attacks in Mumbai.

Noting a spate of recent attacks in Pakistan, including a suicide truck bomb attack on one of Islamabad's top hotels in September, Qureshi said all civilised societies had to work together to deal with terrorism.


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