US demands Pak`s action against LeT be assessed

Two key US lawmakers are seeking inclusion of Pakistan`s action against LeT leaders.

Last Updated: Sep 15, 2011, 21:27 PM IST

Washington: Two key US lawmakers are seeking
inclusion of Pakistan`s action against LeT leaders,
particularly those linked to the 2008 Mumbai attacks, in the
Obama administration`s "secret scorecard" with regard to
Islamabad`s cooperation in the war against terrorism.

Congressman Ed Royce and Brad Sharman said at a
Congressional hearing on India that they soon would send a
letter to the Obama administration requesting that Pakistani
action against LeT -- specifically moving ahead with
prosecutions of the Mumbai attackers -- be part of the "secret
scorecard" it is keeping with regard to the Pakistani
counter-terrorism cooperation.

"In the past decade, US relations with India have grown
considerably. But we`ve hit a lull. Counter-terrorism
cooperation is a way to reinvigorate this relationship, and
better protect America," said Royce, Chairman of the House
Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation
and Trade.

"Our hearing comes soon after our 9/11 memorials, and as
India has once again suffered a terrorist attack. Last week,
a powerful bomb decimated part of one of New Delhi`s
high-profile courthouses, killing a dozen and injuring scores.
A few months ago, a coordinated triple bombing struck Mumbai
during rush hour.Indian authorities are still searching for
answers," he said.

"July`s coordinated Mumbai attack brought back the horrors
of 26/11. Three years ago, a coordinated rampage rocked this
great city, killing 166, including six Americans. But unlike
in 2008, this time India authorities responded more capably,
though there is still frustration in India. Defending an open
country of India`s size is no easy task. Mumbai is
particularly challenging, with a population of 20 million."

Fortunately, he said, there are good opportunities for
the US to increase its counter-terrorism cooperation with
India.

"The two countries have worked together on this for over
a decade. But by all accounts, this cooperation substantially
improved after the 2008 Mumbai attacks, when investigators
from both countries stood shoulder-to-shoulder in response,"
he said.

Appearing before the Congressional sub-committee, Lisa
Curtis of The Heritage Foundation, said that in the past the
US has viewed the LeT only through the Indo-Pak prism --
rather than as part of an international terrorist syndicate and its link to global terrorism have long been evident," she
said.

"A hesitant US approach to sharing information on
Pakistan-based terrorist groups with India does not serve US
interests and cripples the US ability to fully get a handle on
terrorist threats emanating from South Asia.

"By choosing to view the activities of al Qaeda and other
Pakistan-based terrorists groups through a separate lens, US
officials have failed to hold Pakistan accountable for dealing
effectively with terrorists located on its territory," Curtis
said.

Frank Cilluffo, Associate Vice President, Director,
Homeland Security Policy Institute, George Washington
University, said despite some recent promising developments,
the US cannot allow its national security to be held hostage
by nearly two decades of unfulfilled expectations in Pakistan.

"It is vital that the United States now work to deepen
America`s cooperative relationships with India`s internal
security architecture to counter the terror threat that
permeates and extends beyond the region," he said.

"While countless terrorist groups target Indian soil, and
US interests in Afghanistan and the broader Southeast Asian
region, several groups have found refuge in Pakistan as they
continue to expand their network and pose a greater danger to
the United States and India. Pakistan has significant,
historical links to HQN (Haqqani network) and LeT, and both
organisations pose serious security implications for US
interests," Cilluffo said.

PTI

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