Pakistan is world centre of Terrorism: Salman Rushdie

New York, Dec 19 : All the roads of world terrorism lead to Pakistan that has got velvet glove treatment with zero results, says India born British novelist Salman Rushdie.

“The headquarters of the Al Qaeda, the headquarters of the Taliban, the headquarters of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the headquarters of Jaish-e-Mohammad is in the world centre of terrorism – Pakistan,” Rushdie told a packed auditorium of the Asia Society while participating in a discussion, ‘Understanding the Mumbai Attacks’, in mid-town Manhattan Wednesday evening.

“All the roads of world terrorism lead to Pakistan,” he said.

Noted authors Mira Kamdar and Suketu Mehta were other two panelists at the discussion organised jointly by the Asia Society, the South Asian Journalist Association and the Indo-American Arts Council. All three draw their links to Mumbai.

While Rushdie was born there, Mehta grew up in the city. Kamdar lost her cousin and cousin’s husband in the Nov 26-29 terror attack in which more than 174 people were killed.

The three acclaimed authors lashed out at Pakistan and its leadership for not taking any action against terrorists and denying that those responsible for the Mumbai strike were Pakistani despite credible proof.

“British Prime Minister Gordon Brown two days ago said that British intelligence, following up leads of various terrorists’ activities, informed him that 75 percent of what they studied led back to Pakistan,” Rushdie said.

He also took on the US government for handing over billions of dollars in aid without ensuring that Islamabad was really fighting terrorism. “We have treated Pakistan with velvet gloves and what we have got in result is zero.”

He said that only two months ago the Zardari government authorised the purchase of an armoured vehicle for a Lashkar-e-Taiba leader. “So he is driving around Pakistan in an armoured vehicle purchased by the army of Pakistan.”

Visibly agitated at Pakistan’s involvement in the terrorist attack, Mehta said Pakistan’s spy agency ISI should be declared a terrorist outfit.

ISI should be declared a terrorist outfit. They are behind the attack on Indian Embassy in Kabul. They are behind the attacks in Bombay (as Mumbai was called earlier). They should be banned first and foremost for the sake of Pakistan itself,” Mehta said.

“Pakistan needs to understand and I think there should be a concerted effort on the part of the world community to help Pakistan understand that these groups are a liability now, they are not an asset but a liability for Pakistan,” Kamdar said, adding she does not even consider Pakistan a country.

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