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LeT responsible for Mumbai terror attack: UK

By H S Rao in London
August 03, 2009 09:25 IST
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Holding the Lashkar-e-Tayiba responsible for the terror attack on Mumbai last year, a British Parliamentary committee on Sunday said that several major terror attacks across the world, including in London, Madrid and Bali, had origins in the tribal areas of Pakistan.

A report by the powerful Foreign Affairs Committee quoted a former Central Intelligence Agency  chief as saying that the Pakistan-based LeT, blamed by India for attacks on its soil including on Mumbai, has reached a 'merge point' with the al-Qaeda.

"It was from the tribal areas in Pakistan that the bomb plots in London, Madrid, Bali, Islamabad and later Germany and Denmark were planned," the report on 'Global Security: Afghanistan and Pakistan', headed by lawmaker Mike Gapes, said.

It said, "The LeT group, which was responsible for the November 2008 Mumbai attacks which targeted Westerns, in particular United States and United Kingdom nationals, also operates from these tribal areas. The former head of the CIA, Michael Hayden, claimed earlier this year that the LeT had reached a 'merge point' with al Qaeda."

The report also said that a section within the Pakistani army and the intelligence agency Inter Services Intelligence still feels that "India, rather than the Islamic terrorists," were the main threat to it.

"We welcome the increasing recognition at senior levels within the Pakistani military of the need for a recalibrated approach to militancy but we remain concerned that this may not necessarily be replicated elsewhere within the army and ISI," the report said.

It welcomed Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari's remarks that he regarded terrorism, not India, as the real threat to his country. However it raised doubts over "whether the underlying fundamentals of Pakistani security policy have changed sufficiently to realise the goals of long-term security and stability in Afghanistan."

The report on Afghanistan and Pakistan commended the Zardari government for having taken some important steps to counter insurgency at a considerable cost in terms of military lives lost. Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, who recently quit as minister of state for foreign affairs, concurred with the view.

He said, "We are convinced that the ISI is on board institutionally, and that the leaderships of both the army and the ISI are supportive of the president and his strategy, which is reflected through the meetings that we have had with the Chief of Army Staff General Kayani."

The report also raised 'deep concern' over the safety of nuclear technology in Pakistan and on the claims of 'possible collusion' between the ISI and the al Qaeda.

"We conclude that the allegations raised during our inquiry about the safety of nuclear technology and claims of possible collusion between Pakistan's intelligence agency, the ISI and al Qaeda are a matter of deep concern," the report said.

"We recommend that in its response to this report, the government sets out its assessment of these allegations and the extent of the threat that this poses," it said.

On the role of madrasas in the country, the report concluded that there was a 'pressing need' for the Pakistani government "to address the role that some madrasas play in the recruitment and radicalisation process in Pakistan".

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H S Rao in London
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