Islamabad: Stepping up pressure on Pakistan, Britain on Friday asked it to go “farther and faster” in taking action against those involved in the Mumbai attacks and root out terrorist infrastructure within the country.
“The whole international community wants Pakistan to go farther and go faster,” British Foreign Secretary David Miliband told a press conference here after meetings with Pakistani leaders, including Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.
Mr. Miliband, who travelled to Pakistan after a visit to India, advocated a two-pronged approach comprising the prosecution of the people detained and “putting out of business” the terrorist infrastructure within Pakistan that can be used to launch further attacks outside the country. “I want the Pakistan government to take action because British people have been hurt... because terrorism from Pakistan is a threat to the stability of the whole region,” he said.
“It is vital that the detentions are turned into prosecution with charges, and if found guilty, for the persons to be punished,” said Mr. Miliband, adding Pakistan must “rebuff” attempts to use its soil as a launching pad for attacks like those in Mumbai.
In the long term, Pakistan must use a combination of economic, political and security measures to root out terrorist infrastructure. For this, the country would need the support of the world community through steps such as the provision of financial aid by the International Monetary Fund and Friends of Pakistan, he said.
Mr. Miliband said it was “very clear” that the Mumbai attacks were carried out by the outlawed Lashker-e-Taiba group and had originated in Pakistan.
The terrorism that is affecting both India and Pakistan needs to be “tackled at source,” said Mr. Miliband. After his meetings with Pakistani leaders, the British minister said he was convinced that the government was committed to finding and prosecuting the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks.
Mr. Miliband said it was also clear that Pakistan’s current policy to tackle groups like the LeT does not work and needs to be reviewed.
Though External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee had said in New Delhi on Friday that “the first preference of India is for extradition” of the suspects linked to Mumbai, this did not rule out “successful prosecution” in Pakistan, Mr. Miliband said. “Prosecution in the Pakistani system is satisfactory,” he added. Mr. Miliband later met President Asif Ali Zardari over dinner and will meet Army Chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on Saturday.
Mr. Miliband also made it clear that he was not conveying a message on behalf of India. “I want Pakistan to take action because British citizens were killed in the [Mumbai] attacks,” he said. Three Britons were killed and seven others injured in the terrorist strike and this “directly speaks to British national interest,” he said. — PTI