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Pakistan leadership understands threat of terrorism: Holbrooke

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistani leadership has realized that extremism and terrorism are the real threat to their country’s stability and it needed joint efforts to face the common challenges. This was stated by ambassador Richard Holbrooke, US President Obama’s special envoy on Pakistan and Afghanistan while talking to a group of newsmen along with US military commander Admiral Mike Mullen here Tuesday.

Holbrooke and Mike Mullen, who earlier held meetings with President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, PML?N leaders Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif and top military leadership, said they US has been making sincere efforts for having joint and coordinated strategy to fight extremism and terrorism.

He said there has been no disagreement with any leadership of Pakistan on the issue of fight against terrorism.

The US envoy Holbrooke said, “After the recent terrorist incidents of Swat and Lahore, now Pakistani leadership has realized that it is a common threat, common challenge and common task.” Commenting on resolution of Kashmir issue between Pakistan and India to concentrate on war against terrorism, Holbrooke said, “My only job is Afghanistan and Pakistan and I am not negotiating between Pakistan and India.”

He however, said the Mumbai attack has damaged Pak?India relations but there is a need to resolve the disputes through bilateral talks. Replying to a question about allegations and US reservations about ISI, Holbrooke said,”US never said any thing against ISI and we support ISI to face the threat of terrorism.”

He said US has been making efforts for further cooperation and interaction between the intelligence agencies of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Holbrooke said in the shape of terrorism, there has been a common enemy on both sides of border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. He said, “It is our primary goal to encourage cooperation between the intelligence agencies of two countries (Pakistan and Afghanistan) to tackle the menace of terrorism and putting as much pressure as we can.”

Referring to some of surveys conducted by NGOs, Holbrooke said engagements of youth is not based on ideological drive. He said lot of them are just engaged as “part time” . He said bulk of Taliban leaders are not in Afghanistan and are working here in Pakistan. They moved around and they can attack any where, he added.

Admiral Mullen said Pakistan’s military has been facing challenges on the borders in Eastern and Western sides. He said General Kayani realized the challenges. He said US has been making efforts for continued engagements with Pakistan for strategic relationship.

Mullen said there are hardcore individuals leading the organizations of extremists. He said providing security to people is the main purpose and objective and extending cooperation for economic cooperation also. Replying to a question about Baitullah Mehsud, Mullen said, he his responsible for trouble in Afghanistan and even he had publicly said that he would attack Washington.-APP

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