‘Every single day’, US asking Pakistan to act against terror

December 23rd, 2008 - 11:24 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Dec 23 (IANS) The US is asking Pakistan “every single day to do whatever it can” to track down those responsible for the Mumbai terror strikes and prevent future terrorist attacks, but would leave it to Islamabad how to bring them to justice.”Well, the specific arrangements for bringing to justice those responsible for these attacks is something that Pakistan is going to have to deal with, and then they should be talking to the Indian government about this,” State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Monday.

“They have populations that are affected by it. And certainly, we would have concerns about that as American citizens were murdered in these attacks,” he said when asked if the US would pressurise Islamabad to hand over suspected terrorists as demanded by India.

“So we are still at the stage where we are urging Pakistan every single day to do whatever it can to prevent future attacks and to track down and get off the street those responsible for these attacks,” McCormack said, declining to offer any “policy prescriptions”.

“We will get to a stage at some point where, you know, we look very closely at exactly what is the final disposition of these individuals who have been arrested over time.

“So I can’t offer a specific policy prescription for you at this point, but it is important that Pakistan and India continue to talk and to work through any differences through dialogue and diplomacy that they might have, and that every single day Pakistan focus on the task at hand, and that is to prevent any further attacks,” he said.

Asked about “confusing reports” about the detention of militant leader Masood Azhar by Pakistan, the spokesman said: “I’ll leave it to the Pakistani authorities to describe whom they have detained and who they are looking to detain.”

Arrested in India on a false passport, Masood Azhar was among the militants exchanged for passengers of an Indian Airlines flight that was hijacked to Kandahar in December 1999.

Asked about the continued warnings being given to Americans travelling to India, McCormack said the US government “has a responsibility to warn the public if it has specific, credible information that itself would act upon with respect to its own employees.”

“So there are certain responsibilities there that are just triggered by the law. And it’s also a responsibility of a government to try to help protect its own people, its citizens,” he said.

But “ultimately, people are going to have to make their own decisions about travelling and where they go and what they do, but they should at least have the information that they need to make an informed decision”, McCormack said.

On reports of troop movement on the India-Pakistan border, he said: “I’ve seen the reports. I can’t confirm them for you.”

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