26/11 closed door for talks on Kashmir: US envoy told Holbrooke

The Mumbai terror attacks, which were carried out by the Pakistan-based LeT terror outfit, closed the door for any Indo-Pak discussions on Kashmir, according to a top American diplomat.

Last Updated: Dec 01, 2010, 15:27 PM IST

Washington: The Mumbai terror attacks, which
were carried out by the Pakistan-based LeT terror outfit,
closed the door for any Indo-Pak discussions on Kashmir,
according to a top American diplomat.

The remarks by the then American ambassador to Islamabad
Anne Patterson were part of a cable dated February 4, 2009,
which she wrote for US special envoy for Af-Pak region Richard
Holbrook ahead of his maiden trip to Pakistan in his new
capacity, following which he also visited India and
Afghanistan, showed the classified US documents released by
whistle-blower website WikiLeaks.

"Although the conventional wisdom says that Mumbai closed
the door on Kashmir discussions, there is no doubt that
Pakistan believes tackling the Kashmir issue remains the key
to regional security," Patterson wrote in the cable.

Noting that Indo-Pakistan relations were still
simmering, Patterson, according to the leaked cable, said that
in the wake of Mumbai attacks and accelerating militant
control of Pakistani territory, the military/ISI faced the
need to re-evaluate its historic use of proxy tribes/militant
groups as foreign policy tools.

Patterson said that to avoid a potential Indian military
strike, Pakistan needed to show progress on prosecuting those
responsible for the Mumbai attacks.
"Interior Minister (Rehman) Malik will outline to you his
plan to prosecute Lashkar-e-Taiba/Jamaat-ud-Dawa (LeT/JUD)
suspects now in custody. The key will be whether the
military/ISI is ready to turn the Mumbai suspects over to
civilian law enforcement, and whether India considers
Pakistani actions adequate," the ambassador said.

"(Army chief Ashfaq Parvez) Kayani, in particular, wants
to avoid a reckoning with his past leadership of ISI. Despite
arrests of key LeT/JUD leaders and closure of some of their
camps, it is unclear if ISI has finally abandoned its policy
of using these proxy forces as a foreign policy tool; we need
to continue pressing them to realise this strategy has become
counter-productive in Kashmir, Afghanistan and FATA (Federally
Administered Tribal Areas)," the cable said.
Patterson told Holbrook that the Pakistani Foreign
Ministry quashed the National Assembly debate of a resolution
signed by leaders of most of the political parties urging the
US to appoint a special envoy on Kashmir, or add that
portfolio to your plate.

"However, privately, (President Asif Ali) Zardari and FM
(Shah Mahmood) Qureshi have indicated they would welcome your
engagement on Kashmir," Patterson wrote in the cable to
Holbrooke.

Bureau Report