Pakistan agencies reluctant to act against terrorists: US ex-official

March 10th, 2009 - 9:07 pm ICT by IANS  

London, March 10 (IANS) Cooperation from Pakistan was sketchy in the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attacks, a senior ex-American official was quoted saying Tuesday by a British paper.
“It appears there are divisions within the Pakistani intelligence and security forces over whether and how to approach terrorism and how to do it with groups who have long enjoyed active or passive support of Pakistani institutions,” Daniel Markey, a former senior South Asia State Department official under President George W. Bush, told The Times.

“What you are seeing are sharply different responses between different Pakistani agencies - none are sufficient and some are positively bad,” he added.

The paper quoted the Los Angeles Times as saying the Pakistan government has denied the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other US officials access to about 20 Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) members, including about six senior figures suspected of heading its global operations and fundraising.

Senior FBI officials have reportedly confirmed that Pakistan dragged its heels for 16 months in the investigation into a 2006 plot to blow up transatlantic airlines planes.

Pakistan reportedly denied access to the suspected mastermind of the plot, British-born Pakistani Rashid Rauf, despite personal appeals by FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III.

Rauf escaped from a Pakistani jail in mysterious circumstances in December 2007 and was reported killed by a US missile in November last year.

The paper said Mueller’s visit to Islamabad last week was aimed in part to urge better cooperation by Pakistan after the Mumbai attacks.

Pakistan is reluctant to take firm action against militant groups because of their past and, in some cases, current links to the Inter-Services Intelligence agency, it said.

“Pakistani security officials now say that some groups like LeJ (Lashkar-e-Jhangvi) and JeM (Jaish-e-Mohammed) appear to have mutated into small cells and are working as extensions of Al Qaeda. Pakistan’s government insists it is doing all it can to crack down on such organisations and even offered to cooperate with Interpol this weekend in providing DNA samples of suspects in the Mumbai attack,” the paper added.

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