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Pak shouldn’t harp on past rights, wrongs: UK
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

"We are very clear about who is behind the attack…Pakistan has a fundamental responsibility to tackle the roots of LeT, which is behind the Mumbai attack. It is the responsibility of the Pakistani state to bring the perpetrators of the crime to justice…it has been made clear to them. — David Miliband, British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

New Delhi, January 13
In an apparent reference to the Kashmir issue, Britain today advised Pakistan to stop harping on the historic rights or wrongs and adopt a multi-pronged approach to confront challenges facing the country on security, economic and political fronts.

The statement from British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs David Miliband here today is being seen as an attempt to call the Pakistani bluff as it has for years been arguing that terrorism in the subcontinent was an offshoot of the ‘unresolved’ issue of Jammu and Kashmir.

Miliband today held extensive talks with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee. The two leaders discussed at length bilateral, regional and multilateral issues, nuclear proliferation, reforms of the United Nations, and the global economic meltdown.

Later, addressing a joint press conference with Mukherjee, the visiting dignitary asserted that the Mumbai mayhem was carried out by the Lashkar-e-Taiba but gave a clean chit to the civilian administration in Islamabad, saying “he didn’t believe the Pakistani state was involved in the attack”. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who made an unscheduled visit to New Delhi last month soon after the Mumbai strikes, had also blamed the Pakistan-based LeT for the Mumbai incidents, in which some British citizens too were killed.

Britain has been strongly backing New Delhi in the fight against terrorism and appreciated the manner in which India had conducted itself in the face of an audacious attack on the country’s financial capital. “India has shown maturity and determination in dealing with terrorism,” Miliband added. ‘’We are very clear about who is behind the attack…Pakistan has a fundamental responsibility to tackle the roots of LeT, which is behind the Mumbai attack. It is the responsibility of the Pakistani state to bring the perpetrators of the crime to justice…it has been made clear to them.’’

During his talks with Mukherjee, Miliband is understood to have argued that Pakistan must be made to realise that terrorism was its own enemy and, therefore, Islamabad must redouble its efforts to deal with the scourge.

Mukherjee said Pakistan was obliged internationally to implement the UN Security Council resolution, banning the Jamat-ud-Dawa, a front organisation of the LeT. He also rubbished Pakistan PM Gilani’s statement that Islamabad would not hand over any of its citizens to India even if their involvement in any terrorist activity was established. He drew attention to the SAARC Convention on Terrorism and the additional SAARC protocol under which the fugitives from the Indian law could be handed over by Pakistan to India. ‘’I do hope they will act on the material provided by us and bring to justice the perpetrators of the Mumbai attack and hand over some of the fugitives from the Indian law to us.’’

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