The Mumbai terror attacks, which were carried out by the Pakistan-based LeT terror outfit, closed the door for any Indo-Pak discussions on Kashmir, according to a top American diplomat.
The remarks by the then American ambassador to Islamabad Anne Patterson were part of a cable dated February 4, 2009, which she wrote for US special envoy for Af-Pak region Richard Holbrook ahead of his maiden trip to Pakistan in his new capacity, following which he also visited India and Afghanistan, showed the classified US documents released by whistle-blower website WikiLeaks.
“Although the conventional wisdom says that Mumbai closed the door on Kashmir discussions, there is no doubt that Pakistan believes tackling the Kashmir issue remains the key to regional security,” Patterson wrote in the cable.
Noting that Indo-Pakistan relations were still simmering, Patterson, according to the leaked cable, said that in the wake of Mumbai attacks and accelerating militant control of Pakistani territory, the military/ISI faced the need to re-evaluate its historic use of proxy tribes/militant groups as foreign policy tools.
Patterson said that to avoid a potential Indian military strike, Pakistan needed to show progress on prosecuting those responsible for the Mumbai attacks.
“Interior Minister (Rehman) Malik will outline to you his plan to prosecute Lashkar-e-Taiba/Jamaat-ud-Dawa (LeT/JUD) suspects now in custody. The key will be whether the military/ISI is ready to turn the Mumbai suspects over to civilian law enforcement, and whether India considers Pakistani actions adequate,” the ambassador said.
“(Army chief Ashfaq Parvez) Kayani, in particular, wants to avoid a reckoning with his past leadership of ISI. Despite arrests of key LeT/JUD leaders and closure of some of their camps, it is unclear if ISI has finally abandoned its policy of using these proxy forces as a foreign policy tool; we need to continue pressing them to realise this strategy has become counter-productive in Kashmir, Afghanistan and FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas),” the cable said.
Patterson told Holbrook that the Pakistani Foreign Ministry quashed the National Assembly debate of a resolution signed by leaders of most of the political parties urging the US to appoint a special envoy on Kashmir, or add that portfolio to your plate.
“However, privately, (President Asif Ali) Zardari and FM (Shah Mahmood) Qureshi have indicated they would welcome your engagement on Kashmir,” Patterson wrote in the cable to Holbrooke.
Pakistani Anti-graft body wants travel ban on Nawaz Sharif, kin
Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog has asked authorities to place ousted premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law on the Exit Control List to prevent them from leaving the country.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) sent a formal request to the ministry of interior. The interior ministry officials confirmed that the NAB wrote that names of Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar should be put on the Exit Control List (ECL), which listed individuals not allowed to leave Pakistan.
The NAB argued that as the trial of the three nears its conclusion, it is feared that they would leave the country.
Earlier, a similar request to place name of finance minister Ishaq Dar on ECL was not accepted, allowing him to go to London and never return.
Sharif, 68, and his family this week filed an application with the accountability court seeking a fortnight’s exemption from personal appearance from February 19 onwards to let them go to London to see Sharif’s ailing wife. Three cases were filed against Sharif and his family last year, including Avenfield properties, Azizia & Hill Metal Establishment, and Flagship Investments.
Maryam and Safdar are accused only in Avenfield properties case. The NAB had filed two supplementary references against Sharif, his sons Hasan and Hussain regarding Al-Azizia Steel Mills & Hill Metal Establishment and Flagship Investment cases.
Pakistan “breaches obligations’ on nuclear arms reduction, UN court told
The Hague: Pakistan is violating its “obligations” to the international community by failing to reduce its nuclear arsenal, the Marshall Islands told the UN’s highest court on Tuesday.
The small Pacific Island nation is this week launching three unusual cases against India, Pakistan and Britain before the International Court of Justice.
Majuro wants to put a new spotlight on the global nuclear threat, its lawyers said yesterday, by using its own experience with massive US-led nuclear tests in the 1940s and 1950s.
“Pakistan is in breach of its obligations owed to the international community as a whole,” when it comes to reducing its nuclear stockpile, said Nicholas Grief, one of the island nation’s lawyers.
DeBrum warned that even a “limited nuclear war” involving the two countries would “threaten the existence” of his island nation people.
Pakistan and India have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.
In 1998, the rival neighbours both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability.
The ICJ’s judges are holding hearings for the next week and a half to decide whether it is competent to hear the lawsuits brought against India and Pakistan — neither of which have signed the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
A third hearing against Britain — which has signed the NPT — scheduled to start on Wednesday will be devoted to “preliminary objections” raised by London.
The Marshalls initially sought to bring a case against nine countries it said possessed nuclear arms: Britain, China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia and the United States.
Israel has never admitted to having nuclear weapons.
But the Hague-based ICJ, set up in 1945 to rule in disputes between states, has only admitted three cases against Britain, India and Pakistan, because they have accepted the ICJ’s compulsory jurisdiction.
Pakistan’s lawyers did not attend Tuesday’s hearings.
It did however file a counter-claim against Majuro’s allegations saying “the court has no jurisdiction to deal with the application” and insisting that the case is “not admissible”, said ICJ President Ronny Abraham.
Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus
New Delhi: Bangladesh is likely to drop Islam as its official religion following a series of attacks on people from other faiths in the country. The country’s Supreme Court is hearing a plea challenging the status of the official religion of the country to Islam.
Bangladesh, which was declared a secular country after its formation in 1971, was declared an Islamic country following a constitutional amendment in 1988.
According to a report in the Daily Mail, the plea has challenged the declaration of Islam as the national religion of the country.
The move is being supported by leaders from the minority communities like Hindus, Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.
Bangladesh has 90 per cent of Muslims, 8 per cent Hindus and remaining constitutes Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.
In last month, a Hindu priest was hacked to death following an attack on a temple in Panchgarh district. Two others were seriously injured in the attack. There have been several lethal attacks on writers and bloggers.
According to a report in the Independent, Islamist groups Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh and Ansarullah Bangla Team are believed to have carried out at least seven attacks on foreign and minority people in Bangladesh in the past year.
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