ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Pakistan's government on Friday rejected allegations from India's leader that the Mumbai train bombers received support from inside Pakistan, and called for the peace process between the South Asian rival nations to continue.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said the allegations from Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh — who said Friday the bombers were "supported by elements across the border" — were "unsubstantiated and we have already rejected them."
"The peace process between Pakistan and India is a separate matter. It is in the interest of both Pakistan and India and the region, and that is why we believe that the peace process must be continued and carried forward," Aslam said.
But the Press Trust of India news agency quoted "official sources" in India as saying there was little possibility of peace talks scheduled for next week taking place in the wake of Tuesday's attacks that killed more than 200 people.
The July 20-21 talks between the foreign secretaries of Pakistan and India are intended to review the progress of the peace process between the two nuclear rivals that started in early 2004, aimed at burying six decades of hostilities.
Indian officials have been saying they suspect the Pakistan-based Islamic militant group Lashkar-e-Tayyaba in the Mumbai attacks. The group, which operates in Kashmir, the Himalayan territory at the center of the long-running India-Pakistan conflict, denies involvement.
During a visit to Mumbai on Friday, the Indian prime minister said that Pakistan had assured India two years ago that its territory "would not be used to promote, encourage, aid and abet terrorism."
He said the peace process would not progress until that assurance had been "fulfilled."
In a clear reference to Pakistan, Singh said that India was certain that "terror modules" operating in Bombay and many other parts of India were "instigated, inspired and supported by elem1ents across the border, without which they cannot act with such devastating effect."
Aslam said that Pakistan's leadership had condemned the Mumbai attacks.
"Terrorism is a phenomenon that affects every country of world and surely afflicts all the countries of South Asia. The Mumbai blasts were a barbaric act of terrorism which Pakistan has strongly and unequivocally condemned, including at the highest level of the president and the prime minister," she said.
She said that President Gen. Pervez Musharraf had offered to help with investigations into the blasts if required, "on the basis of specific information."