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India: Lower House Passes New Anti-Terror Laws


India's lower house of parliament has passed legislation creating a national anti-terror agency resembling the United States' Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI.

Lawmakers Wednesday passed several tougher anti-terrorism laws, including one that would allow police to hold suspects for up to 180 days - double the current limit.

The laws would also allow authorities to restrict the finances of suspected terrorists.

The measures now move to India's upper house of parliament for final approval.

India's state security agencies came under severe scrutiny last month after failing to detect the attacks on Mumbai that killed more than 170 people.

U.S., British and Indian officials say there is clear evidence that the attackers received training from terrorist camps inside Pakistan.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari today said in a televised interview that there is still no conclusive evidence to support that claim.

But Mr. Zardari said his country is prepared to act if authorities find adequate evidence of any Pakistani involvement.

On Monday, India said its peace process with Pakistan has been put on hold since the attacks.

Pakistan's foreign minister said today he regrets the halt and hopes relations between the two nations will recover.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said he is "confident that we will overcome this hiccup" and optimistic that dialogue will resume.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

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