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US backs Pakistan’s terror war policies

December 12, 2008

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ISLAMABAD, Dec 11: US Deputy Secretary of State John D. Negroponte said here on Thursday his country fully supported Pakistan’s ‘war on terror’ policies.

In his meetings with President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, he said if Pakistan and India did not act sagaciously to contain the fallout from the Mumbai carnage, peace of the whole region would be affected.

President Zardari assured the US government that Pakistan would not allow anyone to use its land against any country. “We will not allow the use of our territory for launching terror attacks against any country,” he said.

He said Pakistan had assured full cooperation to India in investigating the Mumbai attacks. “The government is determined to take strict action against anyone found involved in terror attacks anywhere in the world from Pakistan,” he added.

In a separate meeting with the US delegation, Prime Minister Gilani said Pakistan had taken note of designation of certain individuals and entities by the UN Security Council and would fulfil its international obligations.

The prime minister reiterated his government’s desire to have cordial relations with India and briefed Mr Negroponte on Pakistan’s efforts to defuse the situation.

He said Pakistan, with a view to offering cooperation in the investigations into the Mumbai incidents, had proposed the formation of a joint investigation commission.

Mr Negroponte assured the prime minister of his country’s full support to Pakistan for defusing the situation.

He promised to convey to the Indian leadership Pakistan’s desire for cooperation in punishing the perpetrators of Mumbai carnage.

US Ambassador Anne W. Patterson was also present during the meetings. Pakistan’s secretaries for interior, defence and foreign affairs attended the deliberations.

The US deputy secretary of State came here on Thursday with an assurance that India would not indulge in any military adventurism as long as Pakistan maintained verifiable commitment in action against proscribed groups that could have been involved in subversive activities in India.

According to diplomatic sources, Mr Negroponte in his meetings with President Zardari, Prime Minister Gilani, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Chief of Army Staff Ashfaq Parvez Kayani urged them to avoid taking steps in panic, particularly shifting combat assets from the country’s western to eastern frontiers. He expressed the fear that such a move could affect the military operations in Afghanistan.

His assurance coincided with a statement by Indian External Affairs Minister Parnab Mukherjee in parliament that war with Pakistan was no solution.

A Foreign Office statement said Mr Negroponte emphasised the need for continued focus on the war against terrorism to promote international and regional peace.

The US official arrived after the UN Security Council ordered sanctions against four leaders of Lashkar-i-Taiba and said that Jamaatud Dawa was also subject to sanctions.

The Foreign Office described Mr Negroponte’s two-day visit as part of regular visits by State Department officials for consultations on matters of mutual interest.

He is reported to have asked his interlocutors in Islamabad to continue action against Lashkar-i-Taiba and expand the scope of the operation to other religious-minded groups that may be linked with subversive activities in India.

He is believed to have shared with the authorities here a list of organisations against whom the US and India would like the government to take action.

The list contains familiar names like Lashkar-i-Taiba, Jamaatud Dawa, Jaish-i-Mohammad and Al Rashid Trust, as well as previously unheard of names like Pasban Ahl-i-Hadith.

His agenda obviously included discussions on the implementation of the UN sanctions against the leaders of Lashkar-i-Taiba.The US official also took up the matter of security of Nato supplies for Afghanistan through Pakistan.

Sources claim that the US is particularly concerned about the security of its supplies after last week’s attacks by militants on its three depots in Peshawar.

Talking to Mr Negroponte, the foreign minister underscored the importance of a stable, broad-based and long-term Pakistan-US relationship for promoting peace, stability and progress in the region, and beyond.

He said Pakistan had conveyed its willingness to extend cooperation to the Indian government in investigating the Mumbai attacks and bringing the culprits to justice.

The US deputy secretary of state will visit New Delhi on Friday.

Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband telephoned President Zardari and discussed the situation in the region.