US presses Pakistan to bring Mumbai attackers to justice

June 4th, 2009 - 10:05 am ICT by IANS  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, June 4 (IANS) Pressing Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks to justice, the United States says it wants to make sure that Islamabad is acting aggressively against extremist elements within its borders.

“Well, we continue to impress upon the Government of Pakistan the importance of bringing the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks to justice,” Assistant Secretary of State, Philip J. Crowley told reporters Wednesday.

“We believe the Government of Pakistan should continue its investigation to ensure that all those who are responsible for the attack are, in fact, brought to justice,” he said when asked to comment on the release of Hafiz Saeed, the suspected mastermind of the November 2008 attacks.

The US respected the rule of law, Crowley said, “but we just want to make sure that Pakistan is, in fact, acting aggressively against extremist elements within its borders.”

Giving a clean chit to Pakistan on that count, the official said: “Clearly, in the military campaign that you see over in the Swat area, they are, in fact, doing that.”

Asked if New Delhi’s response to the release would make Pakistan shift its focus from the border with Afghanistan back to India, he said: “I think we’ ve been involved in an intensive, lengthy dialogue with Pakistan on its military priorities.”

“We stand ready to help Pakistan in a wide range of ways. But we are, I think, satisfied that Pakistan has aggressively worked to deal with the extremist elements, Crowley said.

The US, he said, recognises that Pakistan military action in the Swat area has created a significant impact on the ground with roughly 2.5 million displaced persons.

“And we along with other countries are trying to make sure that we can help build capacity within the Pakistan Government to be able to support its population during this difficult time.”

Asked if the issue terrorist attackers’ release by Pakistan would be brought up during US Special Representative Richarard Holbrooke’s visit to the region, Crowley said the envoy’s trip is primarily focused on the humanitarian situation in Pakistan.

The envoy will have a wide range of additional meetings with various government officials in Islamabad, he said. “So I wouldn’t rule out that he’ ll address some other issues.”

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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