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Mumbai Heat
Pak understands gravity of the problem: Rice
Afzal Khan writes from Islamabad

Describing her “extensive” talks with Pakistani leader on regional security as “satisfactory”, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Thursday said Pakistan has shown focused approach and commitment on the issue of terrorism. “Pakistani leadership is focused and very committed on the issue of terrorism,” Rice told reporters prior to her departure as she arrived here Thursday morning after visiting India. She separately met President Asif Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani while foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was also present in both meetings.

Rice said Pakistan was itself suffering the effects of terrorism, adding there was a need for joint efforts by the states to fight the global issue and stop further attacks like this.

She said the US was prepared to help in whatever way in rooting out this problem from the region. She hoped that Pakistan will investigate the circumstances behind the Mumbai attacks. Rice said that she was satisfied with her talks with President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani that focused on the issue of terrorism, adding Pakistani leadership had the understanding of the gravity of the problem.

She said all the responsible countries had a role to play to free the region from terrorism. “We need to...everyone and United States need to stay focused on that,” she said, adding, “terrorists work in a way that they do not respect borders; therefore the effective way to counter their activities is international cooperation.”

Rice said discussing the issue of terrorism is not to talk about military action but about how to deal with the problem. She said Pakistan should act urgently and actively and added that US will extend its full cooperation and assistance to Pakistan whenever and wherever needed. “I found a focused approach and sense of responsibility in Pakistan’s leadership to tackle the menace of terrorism where ever it is,” she said.

To a question Rice said she had reasonable discussion with both Pakistan and Indian leadership, adding Pakistan understands the concern and determination of Indian government to bring culprits to justice.

Rice said the issue was how to respond in an effective way, adding the most effective way was the “cooperation between Pakistan and India” for which the United States was ready to extend help wherever required.

To a question about providing information to Pakistan by India in Mumbai attacks, Rice said there was a lot of information and many mechanisms existed to share such information to bring the culprits to justice.

Referring to Pak-India relations after the Mumbai attacks, she said they were improving, and with cooperation these should move forward with exchanging information and bringing the perpetrators to justice.

Rice said the lines of communication between Pakistan and India should remain open and both the countries should further improve their relations.



I intend to do everything in my power: Zardari

Islamabad, December 4
President Asif Ali Zardari, who had been trying to push forward a peace process with India, told Rice he had asked India to see this as a chance to work together rather than be at odds, saying: "I intend to do everything in my power. The Pakistan government will not only assist in investigation but also take strong action against any Pakistani elements found involved in the attack.”

He further said “Pakistan is determined to ensure that its territory is not used for any act of terrorism.” Gilani also conveyed to Rice “Pakistan's firm commitment to combat terrorism”. He said a meeting of all political forces on December 2 had expressed its “total support to the government in this regard.” — Agencies



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