Nawaz Sharif Promises Action Against LeT

22 October 2015
The Hindu
Varghese K. George

Washington DC: U.S.-Pakistan joint statement calls for dialogue including on Kashmir, says terrorism is mutual concern between India and Pakistan. Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif promised action against all terrorist networks, including the Haqqani Network and the Lashkar-e-Taiba, in a joint statement with U.S. President Barack Obama, which also called for sustained India-Pakistan dialogue on all outstanding 'disputes, including Kashmir'. LeT targets India, and it mounted the most gruesome terror attacks in India in Mumbai in 2008. 'Prime Minister Sharif reaffirmed that Pakistan's territory will not be used against any other country and noted that this is an obligation of all countries in the region,' the statement said. The joint statement issued after the two leaders met at the White House also 'acknowledged the importance of regional balance and stability in South Asia,' which could be a response to the Pakistan's plea that U.S' increasing tilt towards India has been causing strategic imbalance in the region. The statement also expressed concern over 'violence along the Line of Control'. Pakistan and India have been accusing each other of violating the ceasefire along the LoC. In another reference that may cause heartburn in India, the joint statement called for India and Pakistan addressing 'mutual concerns' regarding terrorism. Pakistan accuses India of promoting insurgency in Balochistan and handed over dossiers to the U.S., which it claimed, were evidence to prove its charges. 'President Obama and Prime Minister Sharif stressed that improvement in Pakistan-India bilateral relations would greatly enhance prospects for lasting peace, stability, and prosperity in the region,' the joint statement said. 'The two leaders expressed concern over violence along the Line of Control, and noted their support for confidence-building measures and effective mechanisms that are acceptable to both parties. The leaders emphasized the importance of a sustained and resilient dialogue process between the two neighbors aimed at resolving all outstanding territorial and other disputes, including Kashmir, through peaceful means and working together to address mutual concerns of India and Pakistan regarding terrorism.' 'In this context, the Prime Minister apprised the President about Pakistan's resolve to take effective action against United Nations-designated terrorist individuals and entities, including Lashkar-e-Taiba and its affiliates,' the statement said. Talking of regional imbalance in the region, the statement said both leaders acknowledged the importance of regional balance and stability in South Asia and pursuing increased transparency and uninterrupted dialogue in support of peaceful resolution of all outstanding disputes. 'Pakistan is key counterterrorism partner' President Obama affirmed Pakistan's role as a key counterterrorism partner and 'recognised the sacrifices that Pakistani civilians, military, and law enforcement personnel have made over the years as they confront terrorism and militant groups,' the statement said. 'The President expressed particular appreciation for Pakistan's ongoing support to degrade and ultimately defeat al-Qaeda and its affiliates, noting that this partnership has helped to decimate the group's leadership and operational capacity and has disrupted plots against the U.S. homeland. The President also honored the sacrifices of the Pakistani security forces in Operation Zarb-e-Azb and other operations, which have degraded the ability of militants to plan and execute terrorist attacks. According to the statement said, President Obama commended Pakistan for hosting and facilitating the first public talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in July 2015 and highlighted the opportunity presented by Pakistan's willingness to facilitate a reconciliation process that would help end insurgent violence in Afghanistan. 'Prime Minister Sharif reaffirmed that Pakistan's territory will not be used against any other country and noted that this is an obligation of all countries in the region. Both leaders affirmed that regional peace and stability required the prevention of attacks across the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.' 'President Obama underscored the importance of Pakistan's role, as one of the largest Muslim democracies, in using its influence in support of peace, security, development, and human rights around the world,' the statement said.