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Pakistan To Put Mumbai Attack Suspects On Trial

Interior Minister Rehman Malik said, "This investigation is almost completed."
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) -- Pakistan has completed its investigations into five suspects accused of involvement in last year's attack on Mumbai, and they are expected to be put on trial next week, the interior minister has said.

The announcement was likely to be welcomed by India, which has demanded Pakistan take action against those behind the attack before it will resume peace talks.

Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik said the five suspects going on trial would include Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, a commander of the Laskhar-e-Taiba militant group, who is accused of masterminding the attack in which 166 people died.

"This investigation is almost completed," he said. "We are pretty sure, based on the evidence, which we have collected that these culprits shall be punished."

Pakistan has said it wants to resume peace talks with India, broken off by New Delhi after the Mumbai attack.

But Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has insisted Pakistan must first show it is serious about taking action against Pakistan-based militant groups which launch attacks in Kashmir and elsewhere in India.

"We will do all that is necessary to resolve all outstanding issues that have bedeviled India's relations with Pakistan," Singh told reporters en route from Italy after a Group of Eight (G8) summit.

"But it requires credible action on the part of Pakistan to deal with terrorist elements directing their energy to disrupt and destabilize our economy and polity," he said.

Singh, who meets his Pakistani counterpart Yousaf Raza Gilani on the sidelines of a Nonaligned Movement summit in Egypt next week, had complained at the G8 summit about Pakistan's "lack of progress" in investigating the Mumbai attack.

Malik dismissed these complaints and in turn accused India of using delaying tactics in providing information to Islamabad to conduct its probe.

"We have gone the extra mile to investigate this. We will not allow our soil to be used for terrorism," Malik told a news conference.

Malik also issued a list of 13 suspects along with their pictures who he said were still at large. He said Pakistan wanted India to provide information about those who helped attackers in India.

Of the 10 gunmen involved in the three-day assault on India's financial capital, nine were killed while the 10th, Mohammad Ajmal Kasab, is in Indian custody.

The talks between Singh and Gilani will be the second meeting between leaders of the countries since the Mumbai attack. Singh met President Asif Ali Zardari on the sidelines of a regional summit in Yekaterinburg, Russia, last month.

Before the talks between Singh and Gilani, the two foreign secretaries, or top civil servants of both countries, will meet in Egypt to review progress.

Malik did not give a date for the trial starting.