Pak should be told to stop supporting LeT: Envoy to US

Anne Patterson in 2009 said US must tell Pak to shift Army`s focus from India.

Last Updated: Dec 02, 2010, 15:59 PM IST

Washington: The US must tell Pakistan in no uncertain terms that it should stop all its support to Lashkar-e-Toiba, needs to take strong action against those responsible for 26/11, and shift its Army`s focus from India, the then American envoy in Islamabad said in a cable to Washington in 2009.

Ambassador Anne Patterson`s letter came days ahead of Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi`s visit to Washington to meet US` special envoy for Af-Pak and his team, secret documents released by WikiLeaks show.

She said the present civilian leadership in Pakistan is the most pro-Indian dispensation that New Delhi can hope to see though this still cannot be said about the Army and ISI.

Patterson told Washington that the visiting foreign minister must be clearly told in no uncertain terms that Pakistan needs to stop all its support to Lashkar-e-Toiba on Kashmir and needs to take strong action against those responsible for the Mumbai attacks, besides the Pakistan Army needs to shift its focus from India.

Patterson said in the cable to Washington that the Pakistan government had shifted its threat focus away from India though the Army and ISI are yet to turn the corner.

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani recognise Pakistan`s greatest threat has shifted from India to militancy concentrated on the Pak-Afghan border that is spreading to NWFP and beyond, said the February 21, 2009 US embassy cable signed off by Patterson.

"The Army and ISI, however, have not turned that corner. We should press the GOP on the need to stop using militant/tribal proxies as foreign policy tools," she wrote.

"It is now counterproductive to Pakistan`s own interests and directly conflicts with USG objectives in Afghanistan -- where Haqqani`s network is killing American soldiers and Afghan civilians -- and the region -- where
Mumbai exposed the fruits of previous ISI policy to create Lashkar-e-Toiba and still threatens potential conflict between nuclear powers," Patterson said.

"However, we should preface this conversation with a pledge to open a new page in relations. Chief of Army Staff General Kayani, who headed ISI from 2004-2007, in particular wants to avoid a reckoning with the past, and we will not shift Pakistani military/ISI policy without his support," she cautioned.

The Ambassador said Pakistan`s principal strategic focus remains fixated on India, Afghanistan as strategic depth in the fight against India, and the core Kashmir issue.

"However, the current civilian and military leadership is the most pro-Indian that New Delhi is likely to see, and we should not allow Mumbai to derail rapprochement.”

Patterson said both sides should resume the Composite Dialogue, re-establish back-channel negotiations, and increase trade across both the Wagah border and the Line of Control.

"This presumes that Pakistan, with continued USG pressure, proceeds with prosecution of the Mumbai suspects. Pakistan also needs more clearly to shut down its support for Lashkar-e-Toiba militancy in Kashmir," she said.

Qureshi, she wrote, will want to hear a commitment from the US administration to press the Indians to respond to the Pakistan government`s list of follow-up questions on the Mumbai investigation.

"We should encourage Islamabad to send, and New Delhi to receive, a Pakistani police investigatory team to collect evidence in support of successful Mumbai prosecutions," the US Ambassador said according to the cable.

PTI