Pakistan's Ambassador Pledges His Government's Commitment to Mumbai Investigation

This is a rush transcript from "America's News HQ," December 4, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BILL HEMMER, HOST: So, then will Pakistan live up to its promise to take action against anyone linked to the attacks in Mumbai?

Husain Haqqani is the Pakistani ambassador to the U.S. He works out of Washington. He's my guest this evening.

Sir, good evening to you.


HEMMER: India says the masterminds are Pakistani and they can prove it. Do you believe that?

Video: Watch Bill Hemmer's interview

HAQQANI: Thus, we are waiting for the proof and as we have promised, the moment intelligence is shared with us, we will act on it. We are already acting on all the intelligence that are already been shared with us. I won't go to the details, Bill, but let me just assure you, when Secretary Rice says that she's confident Pakistan will act, she knows what she is talking about.

HEMMER: But as you sit here tonight, are you convinced?

HAQQANI: Convinced of?

HEMMER: That they were from Pakistan.

HAQQANI: Well, there is a serious reason to believe that there are elements in Pakistan that have conducted attacks in the past. Our previous military regime, that of General Musharraf, did not do its job well. We now have a democratic government that is struggling to get Pakistan back on its feet with American help, and I think that the democratic government is very serious about getting the people, who we know do exist. And so, we will act against them.

HEMMER: This is what they're saying on the Indian side of the border. They're saying the guy that was captured, the gunman, is alive and he's talking. They say he's from a small town in South Punjab. They say his father owns and operates a sidewalk food cart. And that's pretty specific.

And they go on to say that Indian authorities found a satellite phone inside one of the boats that arrived on the shore there in Mumbai and they traced all the phone calls back to Pakistan.

HAQQANI: Now, Bill, I'm not going to get into.

HEMMER: What more do you need?

HAQQANI: Now, I'm not going to — first of all, what is said in the media, and you know that very well from this country, is not always what the intelligence community has. A lot of time, there is posturing, there are political issues involved. India is about to have an election. They are concerned about their electoral prospects. Everybody is saying that there was intelligence failure in all of this.

So, they have to say quickly what they say in the media. So, I wouldn't go by that.


HAQQANI: But as far as intelligence is concerned, what you're hearing is what is being said in the media. I know what is being said by the intelligence community of the United States, Britain, and India to Pakistan. And we are working together.

HEMMER: And then maybe there is a better way of asking that question then. If you were given the names of these men, could you find them?

HAQQANI: If we are given the names of these people, and, of course, with some additional information, I mean, if somebody says find Joe Smith, it's not that easy to find, but if you say find Joe Smith in town such and such, and such and such state — yes, that is doable and we will certainly do that.

HEMMER: So, you're confident then if the names went out there and they were made public, you could arrest these guys or at least bring them in for questioning?

HAQQANI: Absolutely, and we will. The important thing that I want everybody to understand is that Pakistan is a democracy. India is a democracy. We are both friends of the United States, and we want a peaceful relationship with India. We do not want to tolerate acts of the kind that we saw last week. It is something that we are equally angry about, we are equally sad about as our Indian friends.

HEMMER: The reason.

HAQQANI: Most people talk about us enemies.


HAQQANI: We are not enemies. We are neighbors.

HEMMER: I understand that. And the relationship has improved dramatically in the last 20 years and I applaud that. And I hope it continues along that path. Everyone in the world does and I'm certain your home country does as well, in addition to India.

But the reason I ask you that question is because there have been two prominent names that have been out publicly for the last two days and they're said to be living in Pakistan. So, if so, and you know these men, you just said you could pick them up if the names are made public, well, they are public. Why not bring them in for questioning?

HAQQANI: Bill, if somebody is brought in for questioning, I'm not going to announce to the world through FOX News for the simple reason, although it's a great medium to that, but for the simple that there are other people connected to them that we also want to bring into the dragnet. Just — let us face the fact that Pakistan is very clear about what we have to do, and Secretary Rice, when she spoke to President Zardari, came back very confident. I think for Americans, that should be a signal that America understands that Pakistan means business and (INAUDIBLE).

HEMMER: I appreciate your answer on that, Mr. Ambassador. Thank you for saying that. So, there is a possibility that you've already apprehended people, that they might be questioned at the moment, correct?

HAQQANI: There are people who are being questioned and as intelligence becomes available to us, we act on it. The important thing is to understand is, the state of Pakistan, the government of Pakistan, and vast majority of the people of Pakistan are not, in any way, connected to this act of terrorism and we do not want to condone it. So, as we have proof, as we have evidence, as we have intelligence, so we do start acting. Our actions will be related to the action of intelligence. And there will be actions.

HEMMER: Our relationship with your country is important, and so, too, with India. Let's underscore that.

Mr. Ambassador, thank you for your time tonight. When there are developments, you certainly have an invitation to come back.

HAQQANI: Thank you very much, Bill. It will be a pleasure talking to you again.

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