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Pakistan should act against LeT: Australia

Source: PTI
February 16, 2009 17:40 IST
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Australia on Monday stated that Pakistan should regain India's confidence by taking action against Lashker-e-Tayiba and bringing the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks to justice.

Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith, who arrived on a three-day visit to Islamabad on Monday, said Pakistan has to do 'more' and India's confidence would be 'part of the test' of whether Islamabad is doing enough to control terrorism within its borders.

"Well, the Lashker-e-Tayiba needs to be brought under control," Smith told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation before departing for Pakistan.

"It's quite clear that the LeT was involved in the terrible attack on Mumbai and the perpetrators themselves need to be brought to justice to build confidence back between India and Pakistan and then to start the constructive dialogue between India and Pakistan," he said.

Welcoming Pakistan's response to the Indian dossier on the Mumbai attacks, he added, "But we think there's more that Pakistan has to do".

Last week, Pakistani authorities stated that formal charges had been filed against nine suspects linked to the attack on Mumbai and acknowledged that part of the conspiracy had been hatched on its soil.

Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik said six of the nine suspects were in the custody of Pakistani authorities. 

The Australian minister assured that he will tell his Pakistani interlocutors 'very strongly' that the 'terrorist element has to be brought to justice and essentially brought under control'.

He said he would also "be making the point that we need to bring the presence of the Taliban and other extremists and terrorist organisations in the federally administered (tribal) areas or the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area under control".

"That is a matter of direct and immediate interest to Australia given the presence of our troops in Afghanistan, but it's also a matter of intense regional interest and I'll be encouraging Pakistan to continue to treat that threat as a threat to Pakistan," Smith said.

As part of plans to help Pakistan suppress terrorists by offering counter-insurgency expertise, Australia is considering a "four-fold increase in the number of Pakistani armed forces personnel to whom we provide training," he said.

Smith said Pakistan "understands that terrorist threat is a threat to its own existence as well. And as President Asif Ali Zardari has said, they are looking at Pakistan's survival, not just the survival of neighbouring countries."

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