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US praises efforts to contain violence

September 21, 2012


“We had nothing to do with this video,” said US Senator John Kerry(above)  while pointing out that it was made by a few individuals who did not represent the American people. — Photo by AP/File

kistan’s swift action to prevent violent protesters from entering Islamabad’s diplomatic enclave was recognised at US Congress on Thursday as Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar briefed a Senate foreign policy panel on the government’s efforts to combat terrorists.

Noting that Pakistan took “swift action” to prevent the protesters from reaching diplomatic missions, Senator John Kerry said that the United States condemned the blasphemous video which enraged the Muslim world.

“We had nothing to do with this video,” said Mr Kerry while pointing out that it was made by a few individuals who did not represent the American people.

“But there’s also no justification for violence and for attacking innocent people,” said the senator who heads the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. The anti-Islam film and the consequent violence were both unacceptable, he said.

Earlier, the US State Department issued a travel warning, urging Americans to avoid travelling to Pakistan because of the protests.

The warning updates an August 27 advisory, which warned of the “risks of travel to Pakistan” but stopped short of recommending Americans avoid travelling there.

The warnings highlight protests and political rallies against the US, Nato and its Isaf force, drone strikes and Pakistan’s ongoing energy crisis.

Senator Kerry, who may replace US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the next administration if President Barack Obama is re-elected in November, said some people in the United States wanted to stop all economic assistance to Pakistan “but this will not happen” as Pakistan was an important ally.

Senator Kerry had a detailed meeting with Foreign Minister Khar on Thursday, covering key aspects of a bilateral relationship which turned sour after the United States raided and killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad in May last year without informing Pakistan.

“We raised our concerns about Dr Shakil Afridi,” said the senator at a joint briefing with Ms Khar after the meeting.

Senator Kerry said the United States was working on a legal report on the Osama bin Laden compound, which would cover all aspects of this operation and would be released soon.

The senator said his talks with Ms Khar also focused on intelligence gathering and sharing. The United States, he said, was seeking assurances from Pakistan for assistance in finding terrorists, particularly those associated with al Qaeda.Mr Kerry said a stable Afghanistan was important for both the United States and Pakistan and that’s why they needed to work together to bring stability to that country.