Lahore/Islamabad: On the eve of his India visit, President Asif Ali Zardari on Saturday said he did not expect the issue of Hafiz Saeed to be the focus of his meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, amid growing pressure on Pakistan to prosecute the LeT founder for his role in the Mumbai attacks.

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"My stance on Saeed is not different from that of my government. My visit to India is of a religious nature and I do not think Manmohan Singh will make me sit (and discuss only) this issue," Zardari told reporters in a lighter vein at the Governor's House in Lahore.

56-year-old Zardari, who flies to India on Sunday for a luncheon meeting with Singh followed by a visit to Ajmer to pay obeisance at the shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, has been camping in Lahore for the past few days.

He was responding to questions on his meeting with Singh against the backdrop of a USD 10 million bounty offered by the US for information leading to Saeed's prosecution.

Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has already said in the Parliament that the case of Saeed is an "internal issue" of Pakistan. Gilani further said that any evidence against Saeed should be provided to Pakistan so that it can be examined by the country's independent judiciary.

In Islamabad, Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said Zardari will invite Singh to visit Pakistan by the end of this year during their meeting in New Delhi.

"President Zardari will invite Prime Minister Singh to visit Pakistan by the end of this year," Basit said. While the Pakistani leadership has extended the invitation to the Indian Prime Minister earlier also, this would be the first time that a time-frame has been proposed for the summit meeting.

On his part, Singh has accepted the invitation earlier but made it clear that he would undertake the visit only if there is likelihood of a substantive outcome.

On the Saeed issue, New Delhi has said that this can figure along with a host of other topics during the Singh-Zardari talks.

Pakistan on Friday rejected External Affairs Minister S M Krishna's assertion that India had provided adequate evidencelinking Saeed to the 2008 Mumbai attacks, carried out by the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba, that left 166 people dead.

The Foreign Office said India had not given "any solid and significant evidence" against Saeed. "There is nothing concrete and maintainable. From its own Mumbai trial experience, India knows well that hearsay cannot substitute for hard evidence," Basit said.

Krishna had said that "the dossier that the Home Minister has provided to the Pakistan government contains every detail of Saeed's involvement in the planning and execution of terrorist attack on Mumbai.

"So no amount of denial would exonerate them unless there is a judicial enquiry into the whole episode whereby responsibilities can be fixed but unfortunately Pakistan government has not thought it proper to investigate this."

Saeed case Pak’s internal issue: Gilani

Meanwhile, insisting that the issue of Hafiz Saeed is Pakistan's internal matter, Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani has said that any concrete evidence against the LeT founder should be provided to Islamabad to be examined by this country's courts.
If anyone had any concrete evidence against Saeed, it should be provided to Pakistan as the country's courts are free and independent, Gilani told reporters at Hyderabad city in Sindh province on Friday evening. He reiterated his contention that the case of Saeed was "Pakistan's internal matter".
Asked about the USD 10 million bounty announced for Saeed by the US, he said a policy statement on the issue had been issued by the Foreign Office and he had already expressed his views in the Parliament.

(JPN/ Agencies)