ISLAMABAD - The Foreign Office yesterday said India was trying to ‘exonerate’ individuals suspected to be involved in the 2007 Samjhauta Express blasts that killed more than 42 Pakistanis and sought fair probe in the case. “It appears that the Indian government is trying to exonerate individuals, who many in India itself believe were involved in Samjhauta Express terrorist attack,” Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria told reporters during the weekly briefing.

Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry conveyed Pakistan’s concern to his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar during a visit to India last month and “urged the Indian government for fair investigation and trial of the terrorist attack”, he said.

He said it’s “only through fair, timely and judicious administration of justice that any society can sustain itself as a respected member of global community.”

Fearing an arms race in the region, the FO said it will not compromise on defence after India’s provocative supersonic interceptor missile test. Nafees Zakaria said Pakistan reserved the right to maintain effective deterrence and was ready to defend its borders and people. “Pakistan has serious concerns at the Indian interceptor missile test and will take all actions to boost its defence capability. Pakistan is not oblivious to its defence needs,” he said and added the missile test had upset balance of power in the region.

Zakaria said Pakistan had conveyed its concerns to the United States and members of the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva about Indian ambitious missile programme. He said the missile test by India had the potential to ignite an arms race in the region.

He said indiscriminate action was being taken against all the militant groups and Quadrilateral Coordination Group had acknowledged Pakistan's sincere efforts for peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan.

He said QCG was trying to bring all the Afghan groups to the negotiating table.

He said Pakistan was committed to peace in the region and wished to have better ties with all the neighbours. “We also welcome the efforts by other countries for peace in Afghanistan,” he said.

Zakaria said the QCG meeting last day also stressed for peace and agreed that dialogue was the sole option to achieve the goal. He said Pakistan and Afghanistan had history of great ties and cultural and religious bonds.

When sought Pakistan's response on Afghanistan's draft deal signed with Gulbadin Hekmatyar sidetracking the QCG, he said Pakistan welcomed the move. He said it was encouraging that Kabul on its own was engaging with other groups with an objective of enduring peace.

Zakaria said Pakistan had made all efforts to secure the multi-billion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project. “We know there are security threats but we are committed to ensure security. This is a great project for Pakistan and we know our responsibilities,” he maintained.