Pakistan 'can help India probe Mumbai attack planner'

Pakistan Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani (L) shakes hands with Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai (R) ahead of delegation level talks in New Delhi on July 4, 2012 The two sides held talks to boost the peace process

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Pakistan has offered to help India investigate a key figure allegedly involved in the planning of the deadly Mumbai attacks of November 2008.

This followed two days of talks on a range of issues between the two foreign secretaries in the Indian capital, Delhi.

India detained Zabiuddin Ansari, also known as Abu Jundal, last month.

He has been described as the "handler" of the 10 gunmen who carried out the assault on targets in Mumbai.

The Mumbai attacks claimed 165 lives. Nine gunmen were also killed.

The sole surviving gunman from the attacks, Mohammad Ajmal Amir Qasab, was convicted of murder and waging war on India in May 2010 and given a death sentence.

The arrest of Zabiuddin Ansari, who India believes was in a militant "control room" guiding the gunmen in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, featured prominently in the Delhi talks.

'State involvement'

India has said Mr Ansari had confirmed during questioning that there was "state involvement" in the Mumbai attack.

But Pakistan rejected any "any insinuation of any involvement of any state agency in acts of terrorism in India".

"Whatever evidence India has should be shared with us and we will investigate the matter. We are even willing to offer joint investigation into the whole affair but finger-pointing won't help," Pakistan's Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani said.

Ansari is being described as the "handler" of the 10 gunmen Mr Ansari was allegedly one of the 'planners' of the Mumbai attacks

Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said prosecuting the men behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks would be the "biggest confidence building measure" [by Pakistan] to bolster peace between the two countries.

He said he had shared information about Mr Ansari with his Pakistani counterpart.

A joint statement issued by both sides said the "frank and constructive" talks were held on a range of issues, including confidence-building measures between the two countries, Jammu and Kashmir and promotion of friendly exchanges.

Last month, the two sides held inconclusive talks over a maritime boundary dispute and the demilitarisation of a glacier.

Relations between the two countries have been gradually improving since peace talks were derailed after the Mumbai attacks in November 2008.

Relations deteriorated sharply after India blamed the Lashkar-e-Taiba for the attacks.

After initial denials, Pakistan acknowledged that the assault had been partially planned on its territory and that Qasab was a Pakistani citizen.

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