Page last updated at 15:04 GMT, Saturday, 11 July 2009 16:04 UK

Pakistan to try Mumbai suspects

Muslims protest in Mumbai
The attacks on Mumbai severely strained India-Pakistan relations

Pakistan says the trial of five men suspected of involvement in the attack on the Taj Hotel in Mumbai last November is likely to start next week.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik said investigations were complete for these suspects and named another 12 men still wanted in connection with the case.

The charges show Pakistan is serious in pursuing suspects in the case despite Indian claims to the contrary, he said.

More than 170 people died in the attacks, including nine gunmen.

India has accused Pakistan-based fighters from the banned militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba of carrying out the attacks.

Pakistan has admitted they were partly planned on its soil and the two countries have suffered seriously strained relations.


Mr Malik blamed India for any delay in bringing the charges.

He said Pakistan had sent India a list of questions on 12 February but only received answers on 9 June. This had enabled them to put a case together against five suspects already in custody.

There was no immediate response to the claims from Delhi.

Mr Malik said that after seeing how this investigation had been pursued, no-one should be in any doubt that Pakistan was serious in pursuing those responsible for the attacks.

"We are pretty sure that based on the evidence which our investigators have collected, the culprits will be punished," he said.

He said that he wished India had given as much co-operation in finding those responsible for killing Pakistanis when a cross-border train was blown up in February 2007.

The dossier detailing the charges against the five suspects for the Mumbai (Bombay) attack has been handed to the acting Indian high commissioner in Islamabad.

The BBC's David Loyn in Islamabad says politically this development could not have come at a more opportune time for Pakistan.

The foreign ministers and prime ministers of Pakistan and India will meet next week during the summit of non-aligned nations in Egypt.

In order to begin dialogue again on its terms, Pakistan is eager to counter Indian accusations that it has not done all it can to pursue those responsible for the Mumbai attacks.

Mr Malik said that 15,000 Pakistani citizens had died in terrorist attacks since 2001.

"The terrorist threat in the region knew no boundaries and no-one has been more affected than Pakistan."

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