Highlights Imran Khan has acknowledged that the 2008 Mumbai terror attack was perpetrated by Lashkar-e-Taiba
Prime Minister Khan told a newspaper that he wants something to be done about the bombers of Mumbai In a first, Prime Minister Imran Khan has acknowledged that the 2008 Mumbai terror attack was perpetrated by Pakistani terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba.
“I have asked our government to find out the status of the case. Resolving that case is in our interest because it was an act of terrorism,” Khan told Washington Post in his first interview to foreign media since his election as Pakistan’s Prime Minister. His response came to the question on the nine-year-old case and the release of the mastermind of the carnage, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, a leader of the terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Prime Minister Khan told the newspaper that he wants something to be done about the bombers of Mumbai.
However, in response to the question on his policy towards India, Khan said that India’s ruling party has an anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan approach. “They rebuffed all my overtures,” he said adding that it was because of the upcoming elections. “Let’s hope that after the election is over, we can again resume talks with India,” he said.
Alluding to Pakistan’s involvement in Afghanistan during the Cold War on behalf of the US, Khan said, he will not allow Pakistan to be used as Washington’s hired gun anymore.
“I would never want to have a relationship where Pakistan is treated like a hired gun — given money to fight someone else’s war. We should never put ourselves in this position again. It not only cost us human lives, devastation of our tribal areas, but it also cost us our dignity,” Khan said.
The Prime Minister also denied the US claim about the presence of Taliban sanctuaries in Pakistan. “We have time and time again asked the Americans, to tell us where the sanctuaries are, and we will go after them,” he said. When repeatedly pressed upon the presence of militants in Pakistan, Khan said, “First, there are no sanctuaries. If there are a few hundred, maybe 2,000 to 3,000 Taliban who move into Pakistan, they could easily move into these Afghan refugee camps. We have 2.7 million Afghan refugees. Our border between Pakistan and Afghanistan has the greatest amount of surveillance. The US has satellites and drones. These people crossing would be seen.”
On Trump’s letter seeking support, the PM said: “Peace in Afghanistan is in Pakistan’s interest. We will do everything”. Putting pressure on the Taliban, however, is easier said than done, he said. “Bear in mind that about 40 per cent of Afghanistan is now out of the government’s hands,” he said.