November 04, 2011

It's time to grow up and deal with Pak: US lawmaker

Congressman Gary Ackerman said: 'Pakistan is not our pal, our buddy or our chum. It is a sovereign state pursuing its own self-defined interests'.
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http://www.indianexpress.com/news/its-time-to-grow-up-and-deal-with-pak-us-lawmaker/870650/0

Pakistan is making no effort to reign in the Lashkar-e-Toiba or other terrorist organisations and it was time America changed its policy towards the country, a top US lawmaker has said.

"It is not a secret that LeT which was responsible for the horrific November 2006 massacre of civilians in Mumbai, an attack that clearly implicated the Pakistani military, operates openly in Pakistan," Congressman Gary Ackerman said at a Congressional hearing yesterday.

The Pakistan government, he said, has made "no effort to interfere, disrupt, arrest, or shut down any of these groups or their activities" and it is "no secret" that Osama Bin Laden was living comfortably in Abbottabad.

"Pakistan insists it had no knowledge or complicity in his presence there. I'd like to think that if the most wanted criminal in the history of criminals purchased a sizeable parcel of land and built a secure compound less than a mile from the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, just 32 miles from our capital, we would know about it.

"Pakistan is not our pal, our buddy or our chum. It is a sovereign state pursuing its own self-defined interests in what it perceives to be a tough neighbourhood, but they help make it tough," Ackerman said.

As such, the lawmaker demanded that it is time the United States changes its policy towards Pakistan.

"... We need to rid ourselves of the absurd notion that we can change Pakistan, reform its government, or create real trust. We have neither the capacity nor the capability, and we certainly don't have the spare billions to keep throwing away on these fool's errands.

"No more magical thinking. It's time to grow up and deal with Pakistan as it is, not as we hope or wish it to be," he said at the hearing on Afghanistan and Pakistan held by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Ackerman said for US' genuine need for cooperation in the campaign against al-Qaida, "there appears to be very little standing in the way of designating Pakistan as a state-sponsor of terrorism, very, very, very little."

He said Pakistan's self-defined national interests have very limited overlap with those of the US.

"In that small area where their interests and ours converge, we can and do cooperate. And the rest of the time they cooperate in varying levels of commission and omission with the people killing our troops, conducting terrorist acts against our allies and trying to bring down the Afghan government."
The US lawmaker added, "Pakistan's national interests are generally contrary to ours and those of our actual allies, and they pursue those contrary interests through the use of violent proxies and terrorism. That's not going to change."

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