COLOMBO (Agencies) – Amid allegations that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) had links with Taliban militants, the US Sunday urged Islamabad to get all its institutions lined up and work in a single direction if it is to tackle terrorism.
US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard Boucher, who held talks with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani Saturday, on the sidelines of the 15th SAARC Summit here, said the new political leadership in Pakistan was facing ‘very big challenges’ and needed to put its own house in order.
“I think it is important for Pakistan to get all the elements of the government lined up and working in the same direction. One of the things is working with the other institutions including the Army and the intelligence service. They need to get everybody lined up in the same direction if they are really going to tackle the terrorist problem,” Boucher told reporters at a Press conference.
“Our view is that it is important to have a good intelligence service in Pakistan, but it is also important for that intelligence service to work single-mindedly with other institutions to tackle the terrorism issue that affects so many people in Pakistan and in the border world,” he added.
Boucher welcomed the statement PM Gilani made about looking into the causes and sources of the Kabul bombing and said the US was working very closely with Afghanistan, and cooperating with Pakistan and with India in their fight against terrorism in all its manifestation.
“All we need is to do everything to correct whoever is involved in that bombing,” he said, adding that democratic basis is the best way to fight terrorism.
“But the only way we are going to get home in these problems is through and with the cooperation of the nations in the region,” he maintained.
Boucher said Prime Minister Gilani’s visit to the US has given impetus to the fight against terrorism. “We all believe that his (Gilani) visit to US was very successful as it put a solid footing to the fight against terrorism.”
Boucher said his meeting with Prime Minister Gilani was a follow-up of his meeting in the US.
He said the US expects Pakistan to have good intelligence service that works single-mindedly and in collaboration with other institutions. “No society is able to fight terrorism if it is divided. It takes all the institutions; administrative, executive intelligence to fight this menace”, Boucher added.
Source: The Nation, 4/8/2008