Ambassador: Pakistani Government Not Involved in Mumbai Attacks

By Jennifer Parker

Nov 30, 2008 9:27am

In an interview with "This Week" Pakistani Ambassador to the U.S. Husain Haqqani said while the Mumbai attackers may have come from Pakistan, they had no ties to the Pakistani government.

"That they are harbored by Pakistan is plain wrong," Haqqani told me. 

"The important thing is that the government of Pakistan, the state of Pakistan, the military of Pakistan, and even the intelligence services are not directly involved," he said. 

"If there are individuals — look in this country the United States people have been arrested for plotting and planning terrorism. Does that mean the U.S. government is at fault?"

Haqqani said his government has gone the extra mile to reassure the Indian government that "we feel their pain."

But he said the heated rhetoric coming from India precludes a talked about trip to India by the head of Pakistan’s intelligence services.

"The rhetoric right now is such that this is not the right time for a high-level meeting of that sort," Haqqani said. "Pakistan will definitely cooperate with the Indians in every  detail if there is evidence that there is any link to anybody."

As Indians question their own government on whether the Mumbai attack could have been prevented, Haqqani said, "Intelligence failure? I think people have to look closer to home for that."

However, Haqqani implored the Indians not to view the attack through the prism of the bitter relationship between India and Pakistan.

"The point we must remember is that we should not see this heinous act in the context of India-Pakistan relations. We should see it in the context of international terrorism. There are terrorists that have trained in all countries of the world secretly. They are non-state actors. I don’t think that this is the time for India, or anybody in India to accuse Pakistan. It’s time to work with Pakistan," he said. 

"As two democracies we need to strengthen each other rather than fall into the trap of the terrorists who want us to fight with each other so that they can get greater strength," he said.

If India posts military troops along it’s border with Pakistan, Haqqani said Pakistan will be forced to do the same, diverting resources from fighting the Taliban which has gained strength in parts of Pakistan. 

"Pakistan and Afghanistan became the focus of jihad central many many years when they were all fighting the Soviets . So these people have roots in some remote parts of our country. They have spread those roots. Some of the efforts in the war on terror have not been successful. Our dictator, General Musharraf did not do the right thing to eliminating the terrorists but the new government is making it’s effort and our intelligence services are far better prepared," he said.

"Pakistan is a victim of terrorism.  India is a victim of terrorism. The victims need to get together. Forget about our bitter history," he said.

Asked whether a member of President-elect Barack Obama’s team would be welcome to broker a compromise on the disputed area of Kashmir, Haqqani said Sen. Hillary Clinton, rumored to be Obama’s pick for Secretary of State, or anyone else would be welcome.

"I think it’s about time that people put those arguments behind us and if anyone can help us do that that would definitely be a good thing," he said. 

–George Stephanopoulos

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