The United States has issued a stern warning to Pakistan to close its doors to terrorists and terror groups, a day after Jama’at-ud-Da’wah chief Hafiz Saeed called America Pakistan’s enemy. The 26/11 Mumbai attacks mastermind, who has been declared wanted by both India and Pakistan, surprisingly advocated for better India-Pakistan ties.
“We continue to want to see perpetrators of Mumbai attack brought to justice. We continue to urge Pakistan to take steps to shut down access to areas inside their borders to terrorists, terrorist individuals and groups,” United States Department of State spokesperson John Kirby said.
Saeed had mocked the US for not being able to do anything against him despite having announced a bounty worth millions on him. “There is a bounty worth crores on me but in the last five years US could not achieve anything out of it. I am at peace when India gets worried about me or when US comes to Pakistan asking about me,” Saeed was quoted as saying on India Today.
While India is not leaving any stone unturned to unite world forces against Pakistan to fight terrorism, Saeed said India would know the pain of being lonely the day Kashmir gets aazadi. “All parties should come together for Kashmir’s freedom. India cannot do anything. Don’t remember the US but remember Allah,” the terror mastermind was quoted as saying.
In a statement which may raise eyebrows, Saeed said that Pakistan should focus on ties with India. “Instead of the US, you (government) should build ties with India. The US would block such an effort,” Saeed said.
Meanwhile, the White House has backed India’s right to defend itself in view of the recent surgical strikes that it conducted in the Pakistani territory but also advised caution given the heavy militarisation between the two neighbours.
“It (Uri) was a clear case of cross-border terrorism. We condemned this act of terrorism. It was a horrific attack. Every country has a right to self defence. But in a heavily militarised relationship that has also experienced three wars, there is indeed a need for caution and restraint,” White House’s point person for South Asia Peter Lavoy said.
“We share with India, the concern for preventing any future attack. We empathise with the Indian position that it needs to respond militarily to cross-border threat of terrorism. But we also advise caution,” Lavoy said.
India and Pakistan have a “friction-filled relationship” and they have not found a way to overcome that, he said.
Last week, Lavoy met the two special envoys of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Kashmir. The two Pakistani envoys in their public meetings had linked peace in Afghanistan to resolving the Kashmir issue. “We certainly do not believe that the situation in Afghanistan is linked with Kashmir,” the top White House official said.
Lavoy said the US is making every effort to ensure that India becomes a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group by the end of this year.
“In 2016 India ought to join the NSG,” he said and referred to the commitment made by the US in this regard.
He also said that India-US ties are the “most dynamic relationship” for the US .