Cranking up pressure on Pakistan, the US demanded that the perpetrators of the unprecedented Mumbai terror attacks be ‘eliminated’ and said Islamabad has still a ‘lot to do’ in combating terrorism.
Richard Boucher, the US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, elaborating on the US aim, said the country’s ‘immediate focus is to get rid of the terrorists and stop them from doing anything more.’
“Let’s find the people responsible, lets eliminate the groups who were responsible and lets make sure we do everything we can to prevent India from suffering this kind of attack again. That’s an immediate focus that requires everybody’s co-operation, and when we are through that co-operation, we can also start co-operation on broader things,” Boucher said in an interview.
The strong message from Boucher came in the wake of Pakistani authorities trying to blur the focus away from cracking down on Pakistan-based groups like Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) suspected to have masterminded the Mumbai attacks on November 26 that left 179 persons dead.
“Pakistan has taken some promising steps, but there is a lot to be done to tackle the menace,” Boucher said.
Pakistan and India should co-operate and draw a plan to look over such incidents in the future to make certain that such terror assaults against India are curbed, he added.
Boucher further urged Pakistan to understand the significance of the term co-operation in such circumstances.
Amid rising international pressure, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has said that his country does not want a military confrontation with India.
‘We don’t want to have aggression with our neighbours. We want to have friendly relations with our neighbours. I assure you once again that we will not act. We will only react,” the Dawn quoted Gilani, as saying.
He was speaking at a special prayer ceremony to mark the first death anniversary of the former premier Benazir Bhutto. Bhutto was assasinated in a suicide attack while she was leaving an election campaign rally on 27 December 2007.
However, Gilani warned India of severe consequences in case Pakistan was provoked.
‘We will not be the people who will be the first to take any sort of misadventurism but at the same time we are capable of defending our own dear country,” he said.
Fears of war between the two arch-rivals gained momentum after reports of mass movement of Pak troops along the border came in on December 26. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called in all the three military chiefs the same day to discuss strategy in case a war was declared.