ISLAMABAD/Karachi - Former interior minister Rehman Malik on Sunday held India responsible for the Mumbai attacks saying the incident had been engineered to divert world attention from the violation of human rights in the occupied Kashmir.

In a statement issued here, the Pakistan People’s Party senator said that the state of Pakistan had played no role in the incident.

Referring to a statement made by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on the incident, Malik said: “Such a statement implicating Pakistan amounts to backing the UN resolution against Hafiz Saeed who was found not involved in this attack.”

He urged Sharif to withdraw his statement that created a false impression about Pakistan’s role.

The former interior minister also advised Sharif to take a briefing to make a difference between ‘state actors and non-state actors.’

Malik said that Sharif’s statement was totally different from the PPP’s point of view on the subject.

He recalled that the matter had also been discussed by the National Defence Council at a meeting chaired by the then prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and participated in by three services chiefs and other members of the cabinet.

At the meeting, Malik said, he had stated that non-state actors had been used by India’s Research and Analysis Wing.

“RAW caught maps of this hotel attacks much before the incident took place. It was RAW which facilitated the non-state actors some of whom were recruited from Pakistan. That is why India did not give access to Pakistan investigators despite numerous request,” the PPP leader said.

He said that India should hand over the criminals wanted by Pakistan. According to him, an honest police officer Hemant Karkare who had exposed RAW in Samjhuta Express before the Supreme Court of India was killed.

Malik said that non-state actors work for their own motives. He raised a question about Indian attitude towards the Ansari brothers, and asked why they had not been prosecuted by New Delhi despite the fact that they were fully involved in this whole terrorist operation as ‘facilitator on behalf of RAW’.

About David Headley, Malik said, he was born in Pakistan but was launched by the US after giving him amnesty in a drug case and he worked in India as a travel agent fully supported by RAW.

Headley, Malik said, visited Pakistan five times ‘duly facilitated by RAW to culminate its sting operation’. He said that the Mumbai attacks were an operation of the RAW, duly supported by ‘a western country’ to frame Pakistan.

Speaking in Karachi, Opposition Leader in the Senate and senior PPP leader Senator Sherry Rehman slammed Nawaz Sharif for his ‘irresponsible, self-serving and damaging statement’.

“Nawaz Sharif should really explain his position. He cannot make such an irresponsible statement inimical to the national security and to stated foreign policy of Pakistan,” said the senator.

She asked, “How can he use the term ‘allow’? No democratic state would ever ‘allow’ non-state actors to go maim, plunder and loot across its border. What is Nawaz Sharif trying to do apart from serving his own interest?”

“Pakistan is fighting a huge war against terrorism against all odds alone and constantly under international criticism and he is adding fuel to that highly critical narrative. Instead of pointing a finger at his own country, we want to ask what he did as the head of a ruling party for accelerating the fight against non-state actors. Terrrorism and violent extremism threaten the stability and prosperity of Pakistan. It is Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto who gave her life to this fight against terrorism and the PPP government that started operations against terrorism in 2009. What did the ruling party do to the National Action Plan? He totally ignored it but just wants to raise his international profile by asking provocative questions that put Pakistan in the dock,” she maintained.

“If he wants cooperation from state actors, he should certainly not be framing the narrative against Pakistan’s national interest. He is a three times elected PM, whose voice gets heard. There is no concrete evidence linking Pakistan to the Mumbai attacks or for Mumbai to proceed with a trial. Pakistan, too, wants a judicious resolution of the Mumbai case and we are still waiting for the requisite evidence from India,” asserted Rehman.

“The PPP has always stood for bringing the peace dividend to the region. India’s current conditional position linking terrorism to dialogue is non-conducive to sustained conversation, but this too needs to change. South Asia needs trade, cooperation against terrorism and climate change among other things. Unfortunately the constant hostilities and escalation of violence at the LoC and Kashmir are making it more difficult,” concluded Rehman.