Washington, Nov 17 (ANI): Pakistan must make progress against terrorists in places like North Waziristan, and there must be progress against the Punjab-based groups such as Lashkar-e Tayyiba (LeT) that pose a threat to India as well as Pakistan, and it should also take concrete steps to bring the Mumbai attack perpetrators to justice "as quickly as possible", a US official has said.
During an FPC briefing, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Affairs Robert O. Blake said, "I think we've been clear throughout that we have welcomed the steps that Pakistan has taken thus far in, for example, the Swat Valley, in South Waziristan, places like that. But I think the President and the Secretary and others have been very clear that those actions must continue."
"And for example, there must be progress in places like North Waziristan and there must be progress against the Punjab-based groups such as Lashkar-e Tayyiba, which pose a threat not only to India but to Pakistan itself," Blake added, in reply to a question that what the US President said was "in India to the Indians," but "the action needs to be taken from Pakistan, so what has been told to Pakistan?"
"I think the President was very clear that Pakistan itself has been the chief victim of international terrorism, and so it's very much in its own interest to crack down on these groups which increasingly are operating as a syndicate and it's very difficult to really distinguish between them," the assistant secretary noted.
"But they're also operating against American interests, not just in our homeland but in places like Afghanistan and in the Mumbai attacks where six Americans were killed. So this is a very important priority for all three countries," Blake added.
He also said that "the President, over the course of his three days, talked at great length about the importance of Pakistan, about the shared interests that the United States and India have in a stable and prosperous Pakistan, but also of the need for Pakistan to take concrete steps to address the terrorism that is emanating from its soil and to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks to justice as quickly as possible."
Earlier, in the readout of Obama's trip to India, Blake said that on the foreign policy side, an important focus was Pakistan, and that the joint statement called for action against those behind the Mumbai terror seige.
"The joint statement also called for action against the Mumbai perpetrators, as well as for the defeat of all terrorist networks, including Lashkar-e Tayyiba," he said. (ANI)