Pakistan has for the first time acknowledged that last November's deadly attacks on the Indian financial capital of Mumbai were partly plotted on its soil. Officials say several suspects have been arrested, including the alleged ringleader, and criminal proceedings have begun.
Under pressure from neighboring India and the international community, Pakistani authorities launched their investigation to determine whether the Mumbai attackers have links to militant groups in Pakistan.
Pakistan Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik released initial findings of the probe at a news conference, admitting the Mumbai terrorists were launched from Pakistani shores.
"The incident has happened in India and part of the conspiracy has been done in Pakistan," he said. "We have located those locations, which were used by the terrorists before launching themselves, and some of the accused, who have been arrested, they have given us the full rundown."
Malik says that Pakistani authorities have arrested six people for allegedly facilitating the terrorist attacks in Mumbai and have opened a criminal case against them. He says the men, including the ringleader, have links to an outlawed Islamic group, Lashkar-e-Taiba. India has blamed the group for the attacks.
Pakistan shares investigative information with India
The top Pakistani security official says Islamabad has shared findings of the probe with New Delhi. He says the information India had given to Pakistan has helped further the Pakistani probe, but investigators need more information from India, including DNA samples of a lone surviving attacker in Indian custody.
"My appeal to the Indian authority is, the information which we have requested, this is to make these prosecutions strong so that we can prosecute them successfully to the extent they are convicted and that is our common responsibility, and let us work for it together because we want these culprits to be brought to justice and set the precedent for the future," said Malik.
Malik says Pakistani investigators have not been able to establish identities of the nine gunmen killed in the attack because of a lack of information and evidence from the scene.
He says that the outcome of the probe is a strong signal Pakistan condemns terrorism and wants to expose terrorist forces that are bent upon destabilizing the region.
India's foreign ministry called Pakistan's announcement "a positive development." India has blamed Pakistan's spy agency, known as ISI, for playing a role in the attacks. But Islamabad denies the charge.
The three-day assault on Mumbai that began on November 26 killed more than 170 people, including foreigners, and raised border tensions between Pakistan and India.
The attacks have led to suspension of a five-year-old peace process aimed at normalizing bilateral relations. India says it wants the planners of the Mumbai bloodshed to be brought to justice before it resumes the peace dialogue.