‘We are fighting the demons created by the US’

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As Pakistan battles the Taliban in its backyard, Qamar Zaman Kaira, federal I&B minister, tells Rana Ayyub that India should cooperate

The attack on the Pakistan Army GHQ was said to be a major security lapse on your part. Pakistanis say you have not been able to address security concerns in your own country, which is facing attack after attack.
No, I don’t think that the attack on the GHQ was a security lapse on our part, as suggested by certain sections of the media. We intercepted them [the terrorists] at the first checkpost and our army fought them eyeball to eyeball. Our officials embraced martyrdom. And not just this, the Pakistan Army has been fighting a courageous war with those who have been attempting to destabilise the country. We have routed them from Swat and Malakand. The terrorists are on the run, their leadership has been finished. Also, we cannot act just on the basis of perceptions. There is no mechanism in the world to identify terrorists and their movement simply based on a perception. Even US troops have not been able to establish peace in Kabul. But we managed to bring Swat under control in a matter of weeks, although we are still fighting the demons created by the US.

One of your ministers has also suggested that there was an Indian involvement in the attack on the GHQ. On what basis has Pakistan been making such assumptions?
We have not made any assumptions of that sort. At this stage we would not comment on the source of the terrorist attack on the GHQ. There has been news floating on the Indian connection, but I don’t know the source of that information.

In that case, are you saying that your agencies are not ruling out Indian involvement?
I would not want to comment on that. It’s too early for any assumptions or suggestions.

‘We will fight terrorism not for India, but in the interest of Pakistan and its nationals’

You came down heavily on India in your speech, saying that New Delhi should not blatantly accuse Islamabad of letting terrorists use its soil.
Of course I did. What is India trying to suggest by saying that we are allowing terrorists to use our land. It is indirectly accusing us of perpetrating terrorism and allowing terrorism to flourish. Are there not terrorist groups operating out of India? Should we then accuse India of shielding terrorists? Let me remind India that we have been the worst victims of terror. We have been using our forces to eradicate terrorism in this country. We are not just fighting terrorism, we are fighting a mindset. India should understand that a peaceful Pakistan needs a peaceful India, a situation where both countries can sit together and talk. We will fight terrorism not for India, but in the interest of Pakistan and its nationals.

But Mr Kaira, the truth is that terror attacks that took place in India, especially the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, did emanate from Pakistan. The dossier submitted by India has enough proof to nail Hafiz Saeed and other LeT commanders. Why then are you reluctant to take action against Saeed?
What other evidence does India have besides this? Such evidence is not admissible in our courts. India needs to give us more information and evidence to nail these people. We cannot keep communicating through the media. We need sufficient evidence. Even we can submit a dossier but will your country or your courts accept it. No, they won’t. Then why expect that from us. India should get rid of this blaming mindset and only then will we be able to help and cooperate.

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