Pakistan Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani has said all confidence-building measures with India became futile in the wake of the Mumbai attacks and insisted that his government would probe the matter and whoever was involved would be tried according to the laws of the country.
“We were having excellent relations with India. We were on good terms with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh” until the November 26 attacks,he told ‘Newsweek’ in an interview in its upcoming issue.
India has blamed Pakistan-based elements,including the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Toiba,for the attacks and is awaiting a response to its dossier on the terror strikes handed over to Islamabad on January 5.
“… With this incident all of our confidence-building measures became futile. Now,you can imagine who is the beneficiary of this — the terrorists,” Gilani said.
“Therefore,I assure you and I assure India and I assure the world that whatever information has been given to us,we will probe into it and whoever was involved we will try according to our laws,and we will not allow our territory to be used for terrorism,” he said.
Unlike the previous Musharraf regime,the present democratic government,he said,has the ability to control terrorist groups like Lakshar-e-Toiba and Jamaat-ud-Dawa.
“We have already arrested the main leaders of Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Lashkar-e-Toiba. We have frozen their accounts and put them in jail and are investigating their affairs,” Gilani said.
Replying to a question,Gilani called on the US and the world at large to help Pakistan build its capacity in field of maintenance of law and order so that it could flush out al-Qaeda and Taliban militants from tribal areas bordering Afghanistan and bring the restive region under its control.
“We have the will and we have the ability. We don’t have the capacity. The capacity I am talking about is the law-enforcement agencies like the Frontier Corps or the police because the Army is not a permanent solution for anything.
“Therefore we have appealed to the world and to the Americans that they should strengthen the capacity of our law-enforcement agencies,” he said.
About the US raids on terrorists in tribal areas,Gilani said the two countries should have more intelligence sharing so that when “actionable and credible” information is available,”we will be allowed to hit (targets) ourselves instead of the Americans.”
Asked if the civilian government could overcome Army’s “sympathy: for these groups,Gilani said the military and the government are totally in line with each other and there is no difference of opinion. “They are one and the same.”
In the context of war on terror,Gilani said Pakistan has a “multi-dimensional” cooperation and “strategic partnership” with the US,adding that this should allow sharing of more intelligence between the two countries.
Describing the election of President Barack Obama as a “positive” development,he said,”we think that he will go for a change because military action is not the only solution to the problem.”
“Some new strategy should be evolved. I agree with Obama and I support him nominating an envoy,Richard Holbrooke,for this region because he realises it is a regional problem,” he said.
Gilani replied in the affirmative when asked if Pakistan is having trouble with economy and stressed that rising prices of food and oil have created problems.
Besides,he said,Pakistan is a “frontline” state fighting against terrorism and extremism and “paying a heavy price.” Every suicide attack leads to flight of capital and discourages investments.
The answer,he said,is for the world to look after Pakistan. “We are (also) catering to the needs of 3.5 million Afghan refugees,” he told Newsweek.
Asked what he expects from the United States,Gilani said the adoption of the Biden-Lugar bill,which provides funds for development assistance to troubled areas of the world,should be expedited by the Congress.
Replying to a question,Gilani said former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto had “a concern” about the country as she knew that government was not in safe hands during the Musharraf regime and believed that democracy is the real answer.
During the tenure of former President Pervez Musharraf,he claimed that no real action against terrorists was taking place in areas bordering Afghanistan.
But now the government is taking “serous action” against the militants who are coming from Uzbekistan and Chechnya as well as against Arabs and the Taliban “We are fighting them and they are feeling the heat,” he added.