WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State John Kerry conveyed the Obama administration’s concern on Zakiur Rahman Lakhvi’s release when he spoke with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif earlier this week, the US State Department said on Thursday.
At a news briefing, the department’s spokesperson Marie Harf said the conversation focused on Lakhvi’s release and the situation in Yemen.
The statement she read out, however, placed more emphasis on Lakhvi’s release than on the situation in Yemen.
Secretary Kerry “expressed concern that the perpetrators of the 2008 terrorist attacks be brought to justice”, she said. Secretary Kerry also noted that 160 innocent people, including US citizens were killed in the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, she said.
Secretary Kerry also underlined the need to keep “terrorists behind the bar”, said the State Department official, adding that in the conversation Prime Minister Sharif also expressed his commitment to “seek justice” for the victims of the attack.
While discussing the situation in Yemen, the two leaders noted that “the path forward has to be a dialogue,” Ms Harf said.
Responding to a question, Ms Harf reiterated the US position that sending or not sending troops to Yemen was Pakistan’s decision and the United States had no position on this.
Also read: US warns Pakistan over release of Lakhvi
When the journalist asked if the US would be “OK” if Pakistan sent troops, Ms Harf said: “I would not judge it either way. It is a decision for them.”
The United States, she said, was supporting the coalition but had no position on the Saudi request for Pakistani troops.
Responding to another question, she said the US Consulate General in Karachi was working closely with Pakistani authorities who were investigating Thursday’s shooting incident in Karachi in which a US citizen was injured.
Secretary Kerry called on the prime minister on Tuesday and an official statement issued in Islamabad said that they discussed the situation in Yemen and other issues.
Published in Dawn, April 17th, 2015