Pakistan should go an extra mile to combat terrorism: Nawaz Sharif

December 12th, 2008 - 6:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Nawaz SharifNew Delhi, Dec 12 (IANS) If Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone terrorist captured alive in Mumbai, was indeed from Pakistan then it was time for Pakistan to take “very serious action” and let India know, says former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.”If a Pakistani name is being taken, a man who belongs to a place called Faridkot or any other place, I think we should take very very serious notice of that. Not just notice, we should take serious action and we should let India know that, here, the action is now being taken against such elements. And it should also be a source of satisfaction to the Indian government, that yes, Pakistan is taking action,” Sharif said in response to media reports that Kasab was from Faridkot.

“Pakistan must take action in a very transparent manner,” he said in an interview to Tehelka newsmagazine conducted at his farmouse at Raiwind on the outskirts of Lahore.

In a significant proposal, he said there should be “a no first attack pact, a no first pact agreement, a no war pact between the two countries and this included both conventional and nuclear”. That, in his view, was the best for both countries and what they should be focusing on.

Dwelling on the troubled relations between the two countries, Sharif said if India had evidence to prove that Pakistani territory was used to export terror into Mumbai, “I think we should put our own house in order”.

Describing the “business of allegations and counter-allegations” between the two countries as devastating, Sharif said when he was prime minister “diplomats from both sides use to get beaten up and there was this tit for tat bashing”.

“I know that no civilised society will accept that - neither India nor Pakistan. These are the only
two countries I have seen in my life, acting like this… We did move forward but after the Mumbai attacks, the relationship has moved backwards and that is very painful.

Stating that he strongly condemned the Mumbai terror attack, Sharif said “given the situation India is confronting, Pakistan should go an extra mile to combat terrorism”.

Giving the Asif Ali Zardari government a clean chit, he said: ” If Pakistan is not directly involved, if the Pakistani government has no hand in it and if the Pakistani government is itself confronted with elements who are creating havoc and if Pakistani government is being seen as fighting the scourge of terrorism, I think you should have sympathy with the Pakistani government and also pave the way for Pakistani government to successfully fight this menace and extend full cooperation to India to lay its hands on the culprits.”

Sharif, who parted ways with Zardari, said he was sure that the present leadership was not involved and “they cannot afford to be involved. The political leadership of Pakistan has no such agenda”.

Discussing the role of Pakistan’s spy agency ISI, he said it “legally and technically comes under the civilian government”.

“But our problem has been that Pakistan has seen some adventurers in the past who have been derailing democracy, who have been responsible for overthrowing governments and abrogating the constitution and (former president Pervez) Musharraf even went to the extent of arresting the judges… We want to see that this adventurism doesn’t happen again because it has been devastating for the country.”

Admitting that he was not completely in the picture during Kargil (in 1999 when the two countries came close to war) even though he was then prime minister, he said: “…that was Musharraf’s fault.”.

The Indians, he said, were absolutely justified and so was then Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee “when he said they were stabbed in the back by us. I agree with Vajpayee - he was stabbed… but then, I too, was stabbed by Mr Musharraf”.

Sharif, who overthrown in a coup by Musharraf in October 1999, said India had held an enquiry on Kargil. Asking why Pakistan could not do the same, he said: “I hope one day the facts come to light.”

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