Thursday, February 22, 2024

US ultimatum to Pak on terrorism

An influential American senator Sunday severely warned Pakistan to come out fair and square against terrorists or lose billions of dollars in US aid.”I do not believe in giving foreign assistance to countries that are unwilling to fight terrorism in their own country,” Senator Robert Menendez told Indian Americans at a condolence meeting held for the victims of the Mumbai terrorist attack.
Member of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Menendez is also chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on International Development and Foreign Assistance, which oversees all US assistances abroad. Both India and the US have insisted that the Mumbai terror attack was planned in Pakistan and its leaders are based in Pakistan.
As such, both the countries want Pakistan to immediately take action against those who were responsible for the Mumbai attack, which is compared to the attack on the twin towers in New York in September 2001.
As many as 172 people, including several foreign nationals, were killed in Mumbai after a group of terrorists from Pakistan went on the rampage in the city Nov 26. Many of those killed were from the US.
In the post-Taliban era, Pakistan has received aid to the tune of $10 billion. Many US lawmakers, including Vice President elect-Joe Biden, have gone on record to say that this massive aid to Pakistan has been used to build up the Pakistan Army against India rather than fight terrorism within its country, particularly its tribal areas along the Afghanistan border.
Representing the state of New Jersey in the Senate, Democratic Menendez has long been known as a friend of India and Indian Americans.
“I want you to know that it is clear to me that we have an obligation to pursue terrorists wherever they may be and bring them to justice. And those who committed those acts in India must be brought to justice as well. I personally understand the necessity in bringing terrorists to justice,” Menendez said.
Indian and US intelligence agencies have said that the terrorist attack in Mumbai was planned and executed by the Lashkar-e-Taiba, a terrorist outfit based in Pakistan.
Meanwhile, an influential American lawmaker describing Pakistan a “failed State,” has underlined the need for the US to tie aid to Islamabad with the Islamic nation ensuring that the lawless areas bordering Afghanistan are not used by terrorists to launch attacks like in Mumbai.
If Pakistan is not able to do that, the United States itself should go in, Congressman Frank Pallone told a meeting organised by the Indian community to pay homage to the victims of Mumbai terror attacks and to call on the Indian government to take tough measures to ensure that such incidents are not repeated.
More than 500 people, including a large number of community leaders belonging to all ethnic political parties, business and activist organization, attended the meeting where a petition was circulated for signatures urging the US government to move a resolution in the UN Security Council seeking to declare Pakistan a terrorist state.
Paying moving homage to the victims at the meeting held in Fords in New Jersey, about 50 kilometres from here, the Democrat from New Jersey also called on Pakistan to take strong action against the organisations which are advocating secession of Kashmir from India to ensure that they do not continue their activities.
But Pallone, who is the founder of the Congressional Caucus on India, cautioned against going to war with Pakistan, saying it would be a “huge mistake.”
The continuing terrorist attacks on India, he opined, bring out the need for more close cooperation with the United States in fighting and rooting out the scourge.
“I believe that going to war would be a huge mistake. I think, we have to look at this in a broad perspective,” stressed Pallone, the member of the US House of Representatives.
Pallone said terrorism has affected the United States, India and Western Europe. “I think the lesson that needs to be learned is that the terrorists want more violence. They are basically opposed to negotiations,” stressed Pallone, the US Representative from New Jersey.

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