Washington: The Obama administration has asked Pakistan to take action against terror groups operating from its borders, such as Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), saying this in the interests of India, US and that country.
The US' assessment formed the crux of the message that was conveyed to top Pakistan officials when the Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake was in Islamabad recently.
"I urged them (Pakistan) to also take action against the Punjab-based groups, such as LeT, not only because that's important to India, but it's important to the United States.”
LeT has growing ambition and scope in its activities, as shown by the David Headley case. So we think it's very much in the interests of Pakistan, as well, to take action against the LeT," Blake told foreign reporters at a news conference here yesterday.
"I thanked all of our interlocutors in Pakistan for the very important progress that Pakistan has made to date, first in its campaign in Swat and one more recently in South Waziristan, and then the arrest of Taliban leaders that you will all have seen," he added.
"But we think there also needs to be progress against these Punjab-based groups, many of which, by the way, are targeting Pakistan, as well.
Groups like Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) had been responsible for attacks in Lahore. They are responsible for the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team. So again, I think there's a compelling reason for the government (of Pakistan) to take action against those groups," Blake argued.
The State Department official who was recently in India and Pakistan, conceded that the issue of Kashmir came up for discussion in both the countries, but said it is up to
Islamabad and New Delhi to decide how they would like to proceed on this issue.
"It’s like water (issue). Kashmir always comes up in everything. So it's very prominent.”
“But again, that's something that the two countries are going to have to work out," Blake said, adding "Both countries have made quite a lot of progress in the period between 2004 and 2007.”
“So sometimes the premise of people's question is that it's impossible for India and Pakistan to make progress. That's simply not true. Both of your countries have made significant progress during that period.”
“In fact, there's the blueprint for some sort of agreement on Kashmir, if they choose to endorse that," he said.
First Published: Friday, April 02, 2010, 23:59