Pakistan says can't cross limits; rejects Indian talks conditions
hussain | April 12, 2009 at 11:32 pmby
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Pakistan has told the United States that it has its own limits in the "war on terror" and could not cross it.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the US is told that Pakistan could not cross the limit in war on terror.
In an interview, he said Pakistan told the US that Islamabad had its own limits in war on terror and it could not cross it.
He said India is strengthening terrorists’ hands by denying talks with Pakistan and putting blames on Pakistan. Pakistan will not accept any conditions in this connection.
Replying to a question about ISI, played a positive role in war against extremism and without help of ISI, arrest of more than 700 Al Qaeda elements was not possible.
Moreover, rejecting the Indian conditions for resumption of composite dialogue, Pakistan has sent a crystal clear message to New Delhi that it would in no way accept any conditions from India for resuming the dialogue. Admitting that the country faces a challenge, it said it is not collapsing as it is a strong, vibrant country and the people of Pakistan would defend it.
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan sent a crystal clear message to India that it would in no way accept any conditions from New Delhi for resuming the composite dialogue. It admits that the country faces a challenge but that it is not collapsing as it is a strong, vibrant country and the people of Pakistan would defend it.
“What we have to understand is there are no conditions and we would not accept conditions. But what I want to tell you is that bringing people to justice, particularly the culprits of Mumbai, is in our mutual interest. Pakistan seriously wants to do it. We want to cooperate with you and we want to move ahead. We cannot do it alone. We can do it collectively. Secondly, you say Pakistan should dismantle the terrorist network. We should do it in our own interest. Not for you but in our own interest and Pakistan has taken very positive steps, which are not being recognized and you are overlooking them. We have arrested some very high-profile people. We have proscribed some very important organisations. We have seized and we have frozen assets. We have taken a number of steps and this is an ongoing process,” Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said while responding to questions during the CNN-IBN’s Devil’s Advocate.
Karan Thapar put the minister in the hot seat, where Qureshi spoke with the Indian media for the first time since the Mumbai attacks.
On India’s role in Afghanistan, Qureshi did not rule out the proposal outright but said, “India is a regional player and I think India can play a positive role, and India should play a positive role. What the Indians are forgetting is that this is a cancer. It will grow, it has no borders, it sees no boundaries, it looks at no nationalities. It will creep all over the region. India should act responsibly. Since I came to Delhi on my first assignment, from day one it has been my endeavour to cultivate good friendly normal relationship with India. Now India is not understanding the challenge. The challenge is not just India-Pakistan. It is a much larger challenge and I think we should all be on board.”
The minister said India had to realise sooner than later that terrorism and extremism were a global phenomenon and it could only be defeated collectively. He added that there had been a lot of exaggeration of the situation in Pakistan.
“It’s a concern. I will not deny that it’s a concern but you also have to understand that let’s not exaggerate things. Swat has been under pressure but there are (only) certain pockets of Swat that are under pressure. The whole of Swat is neither under Taliban control nor is being attacked by them. There are pockets and we will clear those pockets. We have engaged with people because we feel that dialogue is one of the options,” he said.
Qureshi said that the ISI had been cleansed but refused to reply directly whether in the past the ISI had links with al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
“People forget the positive contributions that ISI has made in this fight against extremism and terrorism. Without ISI’s help you could not have apprehended the 700 or so al-Qaeda operatives. ISI has done more than any other organisation. Now we are in the process of restructuring the ISI. The agency has been cleansed. The present leadership of ISI is very clear that this challenge is our challenge,” he said.
He added that Pakistan was pursuing a hands-off policy. “We are pursuing a policy which in our view is in Pakistan’s interest, in the interest of the region and it’s in consonance with our allies. I think the ISI is making a positive contribution and I am of the view that if there are opinions that need to be expressed they should not be done through the media. There are diplomatic channels available and they should be used,” he explained.
“If you are accusing them (ISI), who do you want to cooperate with? Who do you want to work with?” he questioned about the US criticism of the ISI.
On being asked about what Pakistan was doing about suspects of the Mumbai attacks, he said the successful prosecution of people like Lakhvi and Zarar Shah depended on the information that one got from India.
“What we need is evidence, which is legally tenable. There is evidence and there is legally tenable evidence. (That’s) what we require, if we want to prosecute them. Then we want to take a fool-proof case to court so that we can take it to its logical conclusion”.
But Qureshi said he was ignorant as to where Masood Azhar was. To the impatience from India in this regard, the minister urged patience. “Let us not jump the gun. Let us not be impatient. These are very serious and very delicate matters. We have to proceed very carefully. We have to proceed without suspecting each other. Now, if you keep suspecting us, then we will not be able to move forward. What I am trying to convey to you is that let’s drop the suspicion. Let’s join hands and work together in our interest,” he advised.