Washington: The Pakistan Army “paid wages” to terror organisation Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and sustained it, according to a diplomatic cable unveiled by whistle-blower website WikiLeaks.
According to the January 2009 cable, the then Indian Foreign Secretary, Shivshankar Menon discussed Pakistan and the bilateral relationship in the context of the US political transition with the visiting US Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard Boucher and the then US Ambassador to India David Mulford.
Boucher and Menon were in full agreement on the need to ensure that Pakistan eliminate LeT, but disagreed on some tactics.
Boucher recounted for Menon his impressions from his visit to Pakistan that President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani were “committed to ridding the county of terrorism and had made real strides with the terrorist groups operating in the tribal areas, but that they now understood they also had to tackle Punjabi-based groups like Lashkar-e-Toiba, which was much more difficult.”
"We`re not giving them any breaks: they must eliminate Lashkar-e- Toiba," the cable quoted Boucher, as saying, adding that it would require persistence, and that the US hoped to encourage a continuous flow of information, but Pakistan still preferred the mechanism to be a high-level dialogue.
Menon replied that Pakistan was "nowhere near the threshold of proving sincerity" in its response to the Mumbai attacks and had so far taken no "irrevocable" steps toward eliminating Lashkar-e-Toiba as a threat to India, said the cable.
“His worry was that the problem was `more basic`, that the civilian government was incapable of taking action against Lashkar and the military had not yet made the strategic shift required to do so,” it added.
Boucher shared that the US had not reached the conclusion that Pakistan`s security services were directly involved in the Mumbai attacks and asked Menon to "tone down" the public pressure, as “provoking the Pakistan military made constructive cooperation less likely,” to which Menon replied, "What we have seen so far leads us to the opposite conclusion."
"Let`s not insult one another by telling a story that the Pakistan Army was not involved," said Menon, highlighting that the “Pakistan Army paid wages to Lashkar-e- Toiba and sustained the organisation, and until these ties were severed, India would continue to regard the Pakistani security services as complicit in the Mumbai attacks.”
Thereafter, Menon concluded, "They`re either unwilling to take action, or incapable, or both; any way you look at it, they`re involved."