Washington: Pakistan "can and must" take more effective action against terror groups operating from its soil as no state should allow its territory to be used to launch attacks into another, the White House has said.
"While recognising the sacrifices of the people and the security forces of Pakistan in fighting some militant and terrorist networks -- a fight which we support -- President (Barack) Obama has emphasised that Pakistan "can and must" also take more effective action against terrorist groups operating from its soil," a senior White House official said yesterday.
"The President has made it very clear that no state should allow its territory to be used by terrorists to launch attacks into another state, and we will continue to engage on this issue," he said in response to a 'We the People' online petition that was signed by a record 665,769 people.
The petition asked the Obama administration to declare Pakistan as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, as desired by a bill introduced in the US House of Representatives by two Congressmen Ted Poe and Dana Rohrabacher.
"Since the bill cited by the petition remains in draft, we will not comment on it here," he added.
Meanwhile, the State Department has also refused to comment on the bill.
"I am not going to get into a discussion about that. We routinely discuss with our Pakistani counterparts the importance for continued focus and energy on the counter- terrorism efforts and the terrorism threat, particularly along that spine between the two countries.
"Our focus on this and the focus that we want to see Pakistan expend on it, that is not going to change," State Department Spokesman John Kirby said.
The State Department, he said, has seen comments made by the incoming administration on counter-terrorism.
"I have seen some comments that they have made about a counter-terrorism focus. That is for them to address.
"Nothing changes about our focus on the importance of regional, collaborative and effective counter-terrorism operations and to our interest in seeing all the countries in the region likewise expend a great deal of energy and effort and leadership on that. I just cannot speculate about the future and I would not do that," Kirby added.