February 2003 News

United States told Kasuri to stop infiltration

26 February 2003
The Daily Times
Khalid Hasan

WASHINGTON: During the three-week visit of the Pakistan foreign minister here, US administration officials 'down the line' minced no words as to how they felt about what they saw as Pakistan's lack of commitment to ending cross-border activity in held Kashmir, its tolerance of home- grown terrorist groups and its links with North Korea.This correspondent has gathered from reliable and informed sources that the unprecedented access provided to Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri by the Bush administration, including a 'drop-by' visit by the president as the minister sat with the national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, was designed to pass a message to Pakistan that its verbal commitments needed to be translated into actual performance.There were three points that were brought home to the foreign minister in meeting after meeting. First, Pakistan must stop, once for all, all cross-border military and material support to the Kashmir insurgency. The minister was told that Indian patience with Pakistan was wearing thin and while Washington had continued to restrain India, it could not do so indefinitely if the present Pakistani policy continued. He was also told that the repeated assurances extended by President Pervez Musharraf on this issue were viewed with a good deal of skepticism in Washington because of the gap between what was promised and what was delivered.Secondly, it was made clear that the Pakistan government's continuing 'tolerance' for militant or jihadi outfits in the country was unacceptable. It was pointed out that militant organisations that the government had earlier banned had reappeared under different names and were operating openly and with impunity. It was emphasised that it was because of this Pakistani ambivalence towards terrorism that the country was now considered a base, if not the hub, for international terrorism. It was stressed that the US administration was finding it exceedingly difficult to remain reconciled to the situation. The third thing that was repeatedly stressed to the minister was Pakistan's links with North Korea. It was pointed out that Congress was getting extremely uneasy with reports that the two countries had collaborated in the nuclear field and this collaboration had not been terminated. There were some on Capitol Hill who wanted hearings to be held on the issue. The administration had used its influence in favour of Pakistan, conveying to the legislators President Musharraf's solemn assurances that there were no links as alleged. The US had taken the position publicly that it did not wish to dig up the past but would not look kindly on the continuation of exchanges between the two countries. However, disturbing reports had continued to filter in. The Pakistani envoy was told that this was 'absolutely unacceptable'. Not much notice was taken of the foreign minister's 'Five plus Three formula'. The minister told a number of senior US officials that Pakistan, India and Israel should be admitted as member of the five- member 'nuclear club' which he argued would be a positive step towards the establishment of a stable world security order.

 

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