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Statement by External Affairs Minister, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee on the hoax telephone call to President Zardari of Pakistan

New Delhi
December 7, 2008

I have seen several misleading stories about a hoax telephone call from me to President Zardari of Pakistan. The facts are as follows.

We were informed by friends from third countries that Pakistan President Zardari believed that he had received a threatening telephone call from me on 28 November, after the attack on Mumbai. We immediately clarified to those friends, and we also made it clear to the Pakistan authorities, that I had made no such telephone call. My last and only conversation with President Zardari was in Islamabad during my May 2008 visit to Pakistan. The only telephone conversation that I have had with a Pakistani leader since the attack on Mumbai was on the evening of November 28 when I spoke to the Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi who was then in New Delhi. 

It is, however, worrying that a neighbouring state might even consider acting on the basis of such a hoax call, try to give it credibility with other states, and confuse the public by releasing the story in part. I can only ascribe this series of events to those in Pakistan, who wish to divert attention from the fact that a terrorist group operating from the Pakistani territory, planned and launched a ghastly attack on Mumbai.