Islamabad, Dec 4: As a grim-looking US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived here to give a talking to the Pakistani establishment on the recent terror attacks in Mumbai, which cost nearly 200 lives and injuries to nearly 300, the Government of Pakistan went into a hospitality overdrive to placate her and the other officials she had brought along.
Islamabad laid out a lavish lunch spread for the VIP guest, the highlight of which was a lamb biryani accompanied by condiments. According to informed sources, the luncheon also included a diverse platter of kebabs, reflective of the culinary tastes of the western parts of Pakistan. The meal was rounded off by a variety of deserts that included kulfi and assorted ice creams.
Secretary of State Rice is not known to be a big eater and is a health freak who follows a daily exercise regimen, including the regular use of the treadmill and cross trainers.
Rice is meeting the Pakistani leadership,including President Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani here a day after she told reporters in New Delhi that Pakistan has to be seen to be taking unequivocal action to get to the bottom of the Mumbai massacre, even if non-state actors are found to be involved.
Rice has promised the Indian leadership that Washington will persuade Pakistan to take “very direct and tough action," even as New Delhi has warned that it would react in “whatever way necessary" after receiving the response to its demarche to Pakistan served on Tuesday.
Asked whether the series of terror attacks in Indian cities warranted Indian military strikes, Rice had said yesterday that New Delhi"s response should avoid “unintended consequences."
She has also assured India that the U.S. would work “very closely" to bring the perpetrators of the attack to justice and prevent further strikes of this kind.