‘Rice pushed Pakistan to act on terror’

December 6th, 2008 - 5:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Dec 6 (IANS) US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is understood to have told Pakistan that there was “irrefutable evidence” of involvement of elements in the country in the Mumbai attacks and that it needs to act urgently and effectively to avert a strong international response, a media report Saturday said.”The information emerging after her departure indicates that in her meetings with President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani during her four-hour stay in Islamabad, she had told them that Islamabad’s options were quite limited,” Dawn newspaper said.

Contrary to the formal statements issued by Pakistani authorities and her own statement at the Chaklala Airbase before her departure, sources said she “pushed the Pakistani leaders to take care of perpetrators, otherwise the US will act”.

She is reported to have said that the response needed to be “effective and focused” and that India was thinking on similar lines.

Rice had told the media at Chaklala that there had been no talk of military action and the discussions had focussed on ways of dealing with the problem of terrorism.

She hinted at having communicated to Pakistani leaders that the matter of dealing with the perpetrators was more urgent than they might have thought.

“There is urgency in getting to the bottom of it; there is urgency in bringing the perpetrators to justice; and there is urgency for using the information to disrupt and prevent further attacks,” Rice had said.

“Sources privy to the meetings said Pakistan had expressed its readiness to work jointly with India in investigating the incident, but had wanted such a cooperation to be comprehensive and also addressed its own concerns,” Dawn noted.

However, Rice was reportedly not ready to listen to Pakistan’s grievances about India’s alleged interference in Balochistan, the alleged role of Indian consulates along the Afghan border in promoting instability in Pakistan and other such issues.

“Instead, she told Pakistani leaders that she would like to discuss only the issue at hand,” the newspaper said.

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