WASHINGTON: Advocating importance of statesmanlike response to Mumbai terrorist attacks in the form of cooperative efforts by Pakistan and India, Islamabad’s envoy to the United States has urged avoidance of Pakistan bashing temptation as a way to seek political mileage ahead of Indian elections. “Let me just say that there is an election coming up in India and there may be a temptation there for some people to try and look for votes by bashing Pakistan but that would not be statesmanlike,” Ambassador Hussain Haqqani said talking to a US news channel while reaffirming Islamabad’s resolve to anti terrorism efforts in the region.
“I think the statesmanlike thing for India to do and for Pakistan to do is to work together, make sure we find who is responsible for this and work together to eliminate terrorism all the way from Kabul to Kolkota,” he added.
Pakistan, under the democratic leadership, stands for transparent relationship with the international community, he stated emphatically, while rejecting insinuations suggesting any Pakistani involvement in the Mumbai attacks. “I can say without any equivocation that no element of Pakistan’s state or government was involved in these attacks,”
He said the attacks are the actions of non state actors and stressed “India and Pakistan should not go at each other verbally or in any other way, it’s time for us to unite in the war against terror.“We are both victims and our heart goes out to our neighbors we in Pakistan know how it feels to be a victim of terrorism, our president (Asif Ali Zardari) himself knows having lost his wife (former prime minister Benazir Bhutto) to terrorism last year,” he added.
Haqqani reminded the channel that Pakistan has a new democratic government and history tells that democracies do not fight each other. “What we do not need right now is an argument about Pakistan and India’s troubled relationship of the past. What we do know is that Pakistan has been working very hard at normalizing relations with India”.
And, in fact, our foreign minister was in India the very day that this terrorist incident started, as part of an effort to normalize relations. “So without going into the history of our relationship, it is important to understand that Pakistan wants nothing but good relations with India and we will work together in fighting the menace of terrorism just as we have started working with our other neighbor Afghanistan. And we all know that that has borne very good fruit in the recent past.”
On the offer of a senior Pakistan intelligence official traveling to India, he said the important thing is that Pakistan’s intelligence service wants to show and Pakistan’s government wants to that “we are willing to work together with India.“We have a new leadership; our military, our intelligence services and our elected government all want a transparent relationship with the world. We do not want anyone to feel that we are withholding anything we know about anybody”.
“And so India and Pakistan will work together. A high level official will travel to India so that we can find out what India knows about these terrorists and share with them anything that they want to know about individuals or groups about which India seeks information in this particular act.”
He refused to speculate what group might have been behind the Mumbai attacks but felt it could be somebody either al Qaeda inspired or al Qaeda related because attacking the innocent and creating terror is the modus operandi of the militant organization. “And basically, we must remember that terrorists are nobody’s friend, they are not Pakistan’s friends, they are not India’s friends and they are certainly not the international community’s friends.”-SANA