Saturday, December 15, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Blackwill offers FBI help
S. Satyanarayanan
Tribune News Service

US Ambassador to India Robert Blackwill
US Ambassador to India Robert Blackwill coming out of Parliament House in New Delhi on Friday. — PTI photo

New Delhi, December 14
The Vajpayee Government today blamed the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba for yesterday’s terrorist attack in Parliament and a demarche was handed over to Pakistan High Commissioner to India Ashraf Jehangir Kazi.

“There is credible technical evidence that yesterday’s terrorist attack on the seat of democracy and sovereignty of Indian people was the handiwork of terrorist organisation based in Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Toiba,” External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh told newspersons here.

Meanwhile, US Ambassador to India Robert Blackwill this afternoon met Mr Advani and reiterated Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) help in investigation.

“I conveyed to Mr Advani an open-ended offer from FBI to the Home Ministry in its investigation into yesterday’s terrorist attack,” Mr Blackwill told reporters after an half-an-hour meeting with the Home Minister.

A top Home Ministry official on the condition anonymity said “though India and the USA are sharing intelligence inputs, FBI’s help has not been sought for the investigation into yesterday’s attack.”

The official emphasised that the Indian intelligence agencies have more inputs and information about Pakistan-based militant outfits than the FBI possessed. But, he pointed out that if need be the Indian government would not sigh away from seeking FBI’s help.


Pak troops on high alert

Islamabad, December 14
Pakistan has put its troops along the Line of Control (LoC) on a high alert following terrorist attacks on Indian Parliament and tough statements emanating from New Delhi, a media report here said today.

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has also called for “sensitive strategic conference” with his top army commanders and service chiefs to take stock of yesterday’s attack on Indian Parliament, The News said.

However, a spokesman for the Pakistan Army denied the report that it had put its troops along the LoC on high alert or General Musharraf had convened any meeting of the service chiefs and top army commanders.

Denying the report, army spokesman Brigadier Solat told PTI here that the troops were on the high alert along Pakistan-Afghanistan border to prevent any infiltration of Al-Qaida fighters and Osama bin Laden into the country.

Brigadier Solat also denied that General Musharraf had convened a meeting of service chiefs and top army commanders to discuss emerging situation following attacks on Indian Parliament.

Soon after yesterday’s attack on Parliament, the General had sent an urgent letter to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee expressing shock and sorrow over the incident.

A brief statement issued by the Pakistan Government yesterday said: “The government strongly and unequivocally condemns the attack.”

President Musharraf had a telephonic talks with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, US Secretary of State Colin Powell and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

Besides other issues, officials here said, General Musharraf discussed the installation of the interim government in Afghanistan on December 22 with the three leaders yesterday.

The telephone talks follow the visit of UN special envoy to Afghanistan, Lakdhar Brahimi, to Kabul and Islamabad and the quite entry of head of interim government Hamid Karzai to Kabul.

Brahimi left for New York yesterday and the UN Security Council was expected to meet shortly to formally pass a resolution deputing a multinational force to Kabul. General Musharraf’s telephone talks with Blair, Powell and Annan follow a grave situation developing on the Pakistan-Afghan border as Al-Qaida and Bin Laden continued to defy the USA and Afghan forces. PTIBack

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