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Pakistan, Training Camps, and a Culture of Terror

By Manzer Munir for Pakistanis for Peace

The arrest of the would be Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad has brought increased scrutiny to the fact that Pakistan has become the central destination for the world’s would be terrorists and extremists. This should not come as a surprise to anyone as there have been reports of everyone from the militant Muslims of the Philippines to the Arab Al-Qaeda extremists of Yemen and Saudi Arabia who have all trained side by side with each other. Now Pakistan and Pakistanis everywhere are increasingly coming under suspicion due to the numerous instances of Pakistani men’s involvement in attacks and attempted terrorist attacks.

The London Tube bombings in 2005 by young Pakistani British men, the Mumbai attackers in late 2008, and the attempted Times Square bombing by Faisal Shahzad all are linked by the fact that all the perpetrators in these instances were Pakistani men and that they all got their schooling at terrorist training camps in Pakistan.

Something I have never understood is how are these guys from all over the world able to come to Pakistan and simply find training camps to attend? If these camps are so easy to find by your average would be terrorist wanna-be, then how come with the billions being spent on the war on terror are we not able to find the locations, the leadership, and the infrastructure of these camps and destroy it? I know that the US government has been aiding Pakistan with billions of dollars for the fight against the Taliban and Al Qaeda. So how come are there still terrorist training camps and extremist groups in throughout Pakistan?

Part of the problem as to why there are still terrorist and militant camps in Pakistan is because a number of Pakistan’s army leadership and specifically Pakistan’s spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), view India as the ultimate threat to Pakistan’s security and sovereignty. And in order to fuel a low level insurgency in the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir, the rationale was to use the militants and insurgents in causing maximum havoc and to use them in the decades old war with India over the disputed Kashmir region.

The real issue is that the groups such as Lashkar e-Taiba and Harkat-ul-Mujahideen were originally founded by the ISI to help obtain volunteers for the Pak army who would be willing to fight India and aid the militancy in Indian Kashmir. Pakistan’s army and the ISI used the same technique used by the US during the Soviet-Afghan war where militants were encouraged to wage a “jihad” against the Russians and were now asked to do the same in Kashmir against India. So this climate of tacit state approval for militancy and the funding and support for militant groups took root at the time of the Russian invasion of Afghanistan and continued after the Soviet retreat.

Once the Soviets left, warring factions or warlords in neighboring Afghanistan led to great instability and hardship for the average Afghani who was just trying to survive in a thoroughly destroyed and desperate country. During this time, students or Talibs of local madrassas in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan, emerged as a force as they started to defeat various powerful warlords around Afghanistan with the help of Pakistan’s ISI.

These young men, and in many cases boys, were made up mostly of Afghan refugees who had studied at Islamic religious schools in Pakistan during the Soviet-Afghan war. These young Talibs had received important training, supplies and arms from the Pakistani government and particularly from the ISI as well as logistical and financial support. The ISI historically supported the Taliban throughout the 1990s, viewing it as a counter to what they regarded as an Indian-supported Northern Alliance. In a matter of months, the Taliban captured many key provinces inside Afghanistan and soon Kabul and declared themselves rulers of the country. Only three countries ever did recognize the Taliban government’s 5 years in office running Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, and they were United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan.

For the Pakistani government, the psychological thinking has always been figuring out this: How do you contain India to the east? What ways can we leverage ourselves in a retreat and counter strike strategy if ever the eastern border with India collapsed in the event of an all out 4th war in 60 years? This is what has always kept the generals up in their barracks in Rawalpindi at Pakistan Army’s Headquarters. When the country of Afghanistan was embroiled in a struggle for power between the warring factions of among others Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Ahmed Shah Massoud, and other warlords for control of various provinces and cities, the Taliban were gaining valuable training from the ISI and eventually becoming into the force they did culminating in their rise to power in 1996.

When 9/11 happened in 2001, the Taliban were in the cross hairs of the US forces for not handing over their guest, Osama Bin Laden. And since the arrival of US troops have continued to be on the run from American and Pakistani forces. The problem is that certain elements in the ISI still view the predominantly Pashtun Taliban as an important ally in Afghanistan. Despite Pakistan’s efforts to combat and eradicate the Taliban, there is evidence that they are still receiving some support from some members within the Pakistani spy agency.

Now despite being on the run in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Taliban have joined forces with other militants in the country. These previously separate and independent Islamic extremist groups are now joining forces to fight the Pakistani government. What makes the apparent link-up of Islamic militant groups so much more dangerous than they were on their own is the fact that now the fighters are also coming from Punjab, the country’s largest and most important province, and who were originally trained by the Pakistani military to fight a guerilla war in Kashmir against India.

So now the chickens have come home to roost as both the Taliban who were trained to fight the Soviets and the other groups trained to fight the Indians are instead now causing chaos and mayhem inside Pakistan while fighting Pakistani and foreign forces. These extremist groups are the real threat to Pakistan as they are responsible for near daily civilian deaths inside the country as they battle government forces. This culture of jihadist and militant Islam propagated during the time of General Zia-ul-Haq’s efforts to fight the Soviets has ended up making Pakistan a haven for terrorist groups and militant Islamic ideology. Now couple this with the fact that elements in both the Pakistan army and the spy agency, ISI, continue to provide support, logistics, and information about Pakistani and American forces efforts to capture them, and you start to see picture why there are still terrorist networks and camps available for individuals like Faisal Shahzad to join and get support from in terrorist activities.

Several decades of both fighting the Russians, each other, Pakistani and now American forces along with training from the ISI has made these terrorist and militant groups very adept at surviving. And even though by all accounts the Pakistani government is now fighting the Taliban with full force and in all earnest, it is not doing enough to dismantle and destroy all the other groups that have sprung up throughout the country. If it is so easy for a thirty something year old Pakistani American from a Connecticut to come and get training from a terrorist group as is the case with Shahzad gaining assistance by the Pakistan Taliban, then why can the ISI or Pakistan army or even American or Nato forces sniff out all the training camps and terrorist infrastructure within Pakistan?

Unfortunately that answer is more complex than this simple question. There are many competing interests fighting each other inside Pakistan. As their conflict flares on and continues to escalate, the citizens of Pakistan continue to pay the biggest price with their lives as slowly Pakistan is itself turning into Afghanistan in front of our very eyes. The only solution that makes any sense is a durable peace with India. For if there is peace with the giant neighbor to the east, the very reason for the existence of many of these militant groups will cease and that will allow Pakistan to focus entirely on the Taliban and stabilization of Afghanistan to the west. Also it would free up hundreds of thousands of troops from the Indian border who would go into Waziristan and the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) bordering Afghanistan to finish off the Taliban and destroy their terror training camps and infrastructure.

Eliminating the terrorist infrastructure and militant and extremist network ingrained in Pakistan is the only way that the war on terror will have a fitting and lasting end. And in order for Pakistan to successfully accomplish that, it must eliminate the threat it constantly feels from India by aggressively attaining the elusive peace treaty with its neighbor. Just like the French and the British are such good enemies that they cannot resist being friends, so too must Pakistan extend a hand of friendship to India, if only to ensure its survival from the vicious cycle of violence it now finds itself as a result of decades of militant ideology primarily directed at its Hindu neighbor.

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Pakistani-Americans and Police Sharing, and Trying to Spread, Trust

By Anne Barnhard for The New York Times

STRATFORD, Conn. — Last month, a resident of Avon, Conn., received a threatening letter full of religious references. The police chief there, Mark Rinaldo, wondered whether the letter implied a broader threat from a Muslim militant.

He called Dr. Atique A. Mirza, a Pakistani-born Muslim cardiologist, who studied the letter for cultural, religious and political clues. They concluded that the threat probably involved a narrow dispute between neighbors.

Now that a Pakistani-American man from Connecticut, Faisal Shahzad, stands accused of trying to detonate a car bomb in Times Square, setting off soul-searching and unease among the state’s thousands of residents of Pakistani descent, Mr. Rinaldo and Dr. Mirza are holding up their relationship — built over three years of meetings and cooperation between Pakistani-Americans and law enforcement — as a model for communities across the state and the nation.

The comfort level is such, said Mr. Rinaldo, that Dr. Mirza “wouldn’t be insulted and say, ‘Why are you calling me,’ “ nor would the chief doubt Dr. Mirza’s analysis. “That’s the trusting relationship we are looking for,” said Dr. Mirza, who has formally assumed the role of Avon’s police-community liaison for the Pakistani American Association of Connecticut (Paact), which has similar representatives in 13 towns and hopes to increase the number to 70.

Paact’s work makes Mr. Shahzad’s case all the more upsetting to Dr. M. Saud Anwar, a pulmonologist who founded the group. He has played a role in the investigation, acting as liaison between the authorities and a Pakistani friend of Mr. Shahzad’s who feared talking to them. The friend provided e-mail messages that may shed light on Mr. Shahzad’s views on violence.

But Dr. Anwar wishes the attempt could have been stopped before it began, something he calls possible in future cases if cooperation between his community and the authorities increases by another “order of magnitude.”

“This is not, God forbid, to spy on people, but just to live your life the way it is and if you notice something that concerns you, speak up,” he said, speaking to about 100 Connecticut residents of Pakistani descent and representatives of the F.B.I., the State Police and a dozen police departments who gathered Saturday at the Ramada Inn in Stratford. “This is someone who lived among us and under the radar without anybody in the community knowing he was radicalized.”

Paact moves beyond reminding law enforcement not to unfairly paint all Muslims as terrorists — though it still strongly takes that position. It also calls on Pakistani-Americans to acknowledge that people of Pakistani descent have been implicated in high-profile terrorist attacks, to probe the causes and in the process to remind the public that they want security as much as other Americans do.

Dr. Mirza’s wife, Faryal, an endocrinologist, took a similar approach when her son was called “terrorist” in school several years ago. She began giving annual diversity classes, in which she offered Pakistani food and talked about her culture and religion. She also goes out of her way to let patients know she is Pakistani, so they associate the country with something other than terrorism.

Although she could have argued that the burden of explaining culture should not fall on her, she said, “We have to be proactive.”

Now Paact hopes to franchise its approach to other states. On June 19, the group is holding a national conference in Hartford on radicalization and prevention, featuring the Pakistani ambassador, representatives of the National Counterterrorism Center, theologians and others.

Saturday’s meeting focused on the narrower question of how it could have been that people did not seem to remember Mr. Shahzad from a mosque or a dinner party, let alone alert the authorities about him.

Dr. Mirza said it pointed to a need to rethink the atomization of suburban culture: “Know your neighbors; say hi; help them when they need you; be attentive.”

Mr. Shahzad may have isolated himself from mosques and Pakistani organizations, but he must have had some connections; he was married to a Pakistani-American and lived in Bridgeport, where there is a relatively large Pakistani-American population, said Jaleel Rahman, a retired real estate agent.

“We have to be more vigilant,” Mr. Rahman said.

Zaheer Sharaf, Paact’s president, said that many Pakistanis were afraid of the police, because they believe that police officers in their original country are corrupt.

Add to that the post-9/11 fear that reporting a suspicion about a Muslim might lead to an overreaction by the authorities, and it made for a wide gulf between Pakistani-Americans and the police forces that Mr. Rinaldo, the police chief of Avon, said he was unaware of until he began meeting with Dr. Mirza and others.

His reaction: “Wait a minute. We’re the good guys. We have to open up to this community.”

This month, he said, he was upset to see negative reactions to Pakistani-Americans after Mr. Shahzad’s arrest.

“It seems to be one individual, yet a whole community is suffering for the crime,” Mr. Rinaldo said. “It’s not fair.”

Mateen Haider, 56, an engineer from South Windsor, said that Pakistanis, like all immigrants, simply want to fit in, so they are loath to do anything that could draw attention, including call the police.

“That is no longer enough,” he said, telling the meeting: “Today is a great day. We have spoken out. We are all united together as citizens, and we will fight this to the end.”

Lebanese Immigrant Becomes First Muslim Woman to be Crowned Miss U.S.A.

By Derrick Henry for The New York Times


Pageant organizers on Sunday night crowned a 24-year-old Lebanese immigrant from Michigan as Miss USA 2010.

Rima Fakih was born in Lebanon, moved to the United States as a baby and was raised in New York City, where she attended a Catholic school. She told pageant organizers her family celebrates both Muslim and Christian faiths. Her family moved to Michigan in 2003, where she later became Miss Michigan USA.

Pageant officials told The Associated Press that pageant records were not detailed enough to show whether Ms. Fakih was the first Arab-American, Muslim or immigrant to win the Miss USA title. The pageant started in 1952 as a local swimsuit competition in Long Beach, Calif.

Ms. Fakih is from Dearborn and is a graduate of the University of Michigan, where she earned her bachelors degree in economics with a minor in business administration, the pageant said in a release. She said she planned to attend law school after completing her term as Miss USA.

Fans in her state celebrated after learning that she had been crowned at the event held in Las Vegas.

“This is unbelievable,” Rami Haddad, 26, of Livonia told The Detroit Free Press on Sunday night. Mr. Haddad said he was one of Ms. Fakih’s biggest supporters. “It’s a dream come true. I can’t express my feelings.”

During the pageant, Ms. Fakih nearly fell in her evening gown because of the length of its train, but she recovered. During the interview portion she was asked whether she thought birth control should be paid for by health insurance. She said she believed it should because it is expensive.

“I believe that birth control is just like every other medication even though it’s a controlled substance,” Ms. Fakih said.

Miss Oklahoma USA, Morgan Elizabeth Woolard, was first runner-up. She was asked about Arizona’s new immigration law, and said she supported the law, which would make the failure to carry immigration documents a crime and give the police broad power to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally. She also said she was against illegal immigration but against racial profiling.

Donald Trump owns the pageant with NBC, which aired the event live

Amir Khan the Ambassador

By Lem Satterfield for Boxing Fanhouse

NEW YORK — WBA junior welterweight (140 pounds) champion Amir Khan had just scored Saturday night’s 11th-round knockout over Brooklyn’s Paulie Malignaggi in the biggest victory of his career.

In doing so, the 23-year-old, 2004 Olympic silver medalist not only out-boxed a pure boxer, but he mixed in an assortment of power shots — namely crisp, counter and over hand rights behind double- and triple-jabs — with a compliment of damaging left hooks and uppercuts.

When the fight was over, the English-born titlist had won the approval of the roaring crowd of more than 4,412 that filled Madison Square Garden’s 5,000 capacity WaMu Theater, and left the trash-talking Malignaggi beaten, battered and bloodied in his own hometown.

Khan had Malignaggi pinned on the ropes and was nailing him with several unanswered blows when referee Steve Smoger came to the rescue, calling a halt to the bout at 1:25 of the round.

“I was nervous, this being my first time in America. And I was walking into the theater, I could hear a lot of boos. But at the end of the fight, they started cheering for Amir Khan because I won them over with my style. I want to make all of my fights like this one,” said Khan, who rose to 23-1, with his 17th knockout and his fourth, consecutive victory.

“It’s my style. I’m explosive. I’m entertaining to watch. I’ve got speed, and I think I made a statement. I think that now there are a lot of American people who are interested in Amir Khan,” said Khan, who was coming off of a December’s first-round knockout of another Brooklyn resident, Dmitry Salita (30-1-1, 16 KOs).

“I’d love to fight some more over here. I want to save some big fights for the United Kingdom,” said Khan. “But I’ve had my American debut, and it’s the best feeling fighting in America. It’s a dream come true. I’d love to go to Las Vegas and have a big fight over there too.”

But as admirable as Khan’s in-the-ring efforts had been against Malignaggi, it is the maturity, poise and grace with which he handled the out-of-the ring distractions that may yet make Khan even more of a cross-cultural, crossover icon.

There was an irony surrounding Khan’s visa issues, which overlapped with the recent actions of alleged Times Square bombing attempt suspect Faisal Shahzad. Together, the two situations caused concern heading into Khan-Malignaggi.

Khan is a practicing Muslim who was born in England, but who is of Pakistani descent, while Shahzad is a native of Pakistan who became a U.S. citizen a year ago.

In early March, long before Shahzad’s actions on May 1, which resulted in a failed attack after he left an SUV rigged with a homemade bombing device in Times Square, Khan and his promoter, Golden Boy Promotions, became aware of the fighter’s issues concerning the obtaining of a work visa.

David Itskowitch, chief operating officer of Golden Boy Promotions, said that Khan entered America under the country’s visa waivers program “which, for all intents and purposes,” allows its holder, “a tourist visa, which is good for ‘X’-amount of days.”

“Khan’s status while he was here training was one of a tourist while not earning money,” said Itskowitch. “In order to change your status to someone who is working, you have to leave the country, get a visa, and, then, come back.”

Khan had been holding workouts at Wild Card Boxing Club, in Hollywood, Calif., owned by his trainer, Freddie Roach, a three-time Trainer Of The Year.

But Khan was forced to leave the United States, and has been preparing for his American debut against Malignaggi (27-4, five KOs), while training under Roach in Vancouver, Canada.

“I was in training camp. Then I had to go to Vancouver to get my visa. And my visa took a long time. We had to move the whole training camp there. My head was all over the place, so I had to stay mentally strong,” said Khan, who was not granted the work visa until nine days prior to the fight.

“When I finally got my visa, I had to go back to Los Angeles again, and the, fly to New York. So I was flying a lot. I was traveling all over country, and I got a visa for 23 days that it took me three weeks to get. That could have gotten to me, but I had to work very hard not to let it bother me,” said Khan.

“I have to thank Freddie for flying all over with me,” said Khan. “One thing about Freddie, he looks at his fighters like they’re his kids. He was standing beside me all of the way through, so I have to thank him for that.”

Although Khan laments the notion that suspicion may have been heightened due to the comparisons between himself and Shahzad, he also embraces the opportunity to perhaps be an ambassador.

Khan wants to use his boxing skills to influence American opinion.

“What I want to do in this game is that, you know, I know that a lot of the Pakistani people and the Muslims are getting a bad name in the United States with the bombings and the terrorism and stuff, but not all of us are like that. Look at Amir Khan. I’m an English boxer. I’m one of the faces of boxing,” said Khan.

“And I want to do the same thing that I’ve done in the United Kingdom. I want to put a new face into boxing. I want to bring the Muslim community into boxing. Whenever you’re at an Amir Khan fight, if you come to the United Kingdom and watch me fight, you look into the crowd, and you see all different colors,” said Khan.

“You see the Asian, Chinese, Pakistanis, Muslims — you see everyone. I want to do the same in the United States,” said Khan. “As more people get to know Amir Khan, you’ll see more of that. Hopefully the Americans will love my style and I can do the same here. I want to fill out the stadiums and the arenas like I do in the United Kingdom.”

Muslim-Americans: Bracing For A Backlash

By Christopher Alessi for The Huffington Post

Adil Najam, a Pakistani-American professor at Boston University, took his 12-year-old son aside before sending him off to school last Wednesday. He told him to hold his head high, even if the other kids make fun of him and call him a terrorist.

In the days following this month’s attempted car bombing in Times Square by Pakistani-American Faisal Shahzad, Pakistanis and other Muslim groups in the U.S. have been taking precautions to prevent a public backlash similar to the one Muslim-Americans faced following 9/11–but they are still preparing for the worst.

“We are so grateful, thank God, that the bomb did not blow up, but the real damage here is to the Pakistani community,” Najam said. “Everyone [Pakistani-Americans] now gets ready for the office – or school – knowing he will be looked at differently.”

As a result, community leaders, such as Dr. Saud Anwar, the director of Connecticut’s branch of the Pakistani-American Public Affairs Committee, are counseling fellow Pakistanis to jump on the offensive. “We’re hoping we’re not going to be marginalized and we’re trying not to be scared, so we’re mobilizing the community to condemn the incident,” he said.

After 9/11, Anwar made a choice to be more “politically active and to build bridges with the law enforcement community.” He now works closely with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security to help identify suspected terrorists. He has also encouraged his fellow Pakistanis in Connecticut to become more engaged with the police, in part to counter the stereotype that all Muslims are terrorist-sympathizers.

If Muslim-Americans don’t take an active approach, Anwar believes, they will only be further marginalized, which in turn will lead to increased “identity crises” and subsequent radicalization in the greater Muslim community–an arguably vicious and deadly cycle.

Najam also contends that Muslims are being “more vigilant against crackpots within their own communities,” by reporting them to the authorities. “We are trying to deal with incidents involving black sheep much better,” he said, referring to fellow Muslims that are suspected of harboring radical and violent agendas.

Both Najam and Anwar are trying to preemptively thwart the onslaught they say their communities faced after 9/11. Back then, both men argue, many Muslim-Americans felt they were put under a microscope by the mainstream American media and society at large. “There was a very high level of apprehension immediately after 9/11,” Najam said. “‘American-Americans’ – whatever that is – were apprehensive about Muslims, and we were internally apprehensive about how we were being viewed.”

Prof. Sinan Antoon of New York University believes that U.S. government policy and rhetoric following 9/11 only compounded the situation for Muslims. “The war on terror discourse and the manichaean view of a world populated by those who are with us and those others who are against us spelled danger and disaster for Arab and Muslim citizens or immigrants,” Antoon said. “After 9/11,” he added, “Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans were all guilty by association.”

Indeed, for many ‘ordinary’ Americans – non-Muslims, or “American-Americans,” as Najam put it – ‘Muslim’ became the codeword for ‘terrorist.’ As a result, many Muslims felt forced to take responsibility for the acts of religious (and political) fanatics who happened to share the same faith.

Antoon further argues that Muslims were easily linked with terrorists after 9/11 because “terrorism was explained in cultural and civilizational terms, not in material history and politics.” “The result,” he explained, “was for the U.S. government to absolve itself of its own responsibility in supporting foreign jihadists in the 1980s…and skirt the blame to the cultural sphere and simplify phenomena and events as simply a class of cultures.”

But Najam is optimistic that things could be different this time. He believes that mainstream American society has evolved since the time period following 9/11. “Society is more adept at handling these [terrorism incidents] as acts of criminality,” he said. Most Americans, Najam argues, no longer see the actions of individuals such as Shahzad as representative of an entire cultural or religious group.

Anwar, too, is trying to remain positive. “There are over 1 million people of Pakistani heritage in the U.S., and there was one idiot that couldn’t think straight,” he said.

“I think America is better than that–blaming the whole community.”

Pakistani is Charged in Chile for Explosives, not Terror

From The Associated Press

SANTIAGO, Chile — A Pakistani man detained with suspicious chemical residues at the U.S. Embassy in Chile was charged with possessing explosives on Saturday, and then set free pending further investigation.

Mohammad Saif Ur Rehman Khan was ordered to stay in Chile and check in with authorities once a week. Prosecutors have three more months to develop their case, Judge Maria Carolina Herrera ruled.

Defense attorney Gabriel Carrion said the judge declined to charge Khan with associating with terrorists for lack of evidence.

Khan, who maintains his innocence, made a victory sign with his hand and said only “Viva Chile” to a crowd of reporters as he left the courthouse with his lawyer.

Khan was called in to the embassy so that he could be told that his U.S. visa was revoked. A State Department spokesman in Washington said he had been added to a terrorism watch list after the U.S. government received information about him.

A summary of the closed hearing posted on the judiciary’s website Saturday said both TNT and tetryl – a chemical that boosts the power of explosives – were found on his cell phone and documents at the embassy, and that a police search of his room later found the same chemicals on his clothes, a suitcase and a computer bag.

But Carrion says the 28-year-old Khan is an innocent student of the tourism industry and Spanish, and that anyone can pick up traces of the chemical simply by living in a big, polluted city. Prosecutor Xavier Armendariz said the judge found that Khan’s detention was legal.

Chilean police have searched the apartment of an Egyptian man who prayed at the same mosque as Khan and continue to investigate people who associated with the suspect.

Khan’s parents were traveling to Chile to support their son, according to leftist Sen. Alejandro Navarro, who said he persuaded the interior ministry to grant them visas

Pakistan Needs Chemotherapy, Says Obama

From The Economic Times

US President Barack Obama has said that there is growing recognition among Pakistani leaders that the `cancer’ of terrorism is the
primary threat to Pakistan’s sovereignty and not India.

“I think there has been in the past a view on the part of Pakistan that their primary rival, India, was their only concern. I think what you’ve seen over the last several months is a growing recognition that they have a cancer in their midst; that the extremist organisations that have been allowed to congregate and use as a base the frontier areas to then go into Afghanistan, that that now threatens Pakistan’s sovereignty,” Mr Obama said at a joint press conference with Afghan president Hamid Karzai. He further maintained that he was encouraged by what he has seen from the Pakistani government over the last several months.

“But just as it’s going to take some time for Afghanistan’s economy, for example, to fully recover from 30 years of war, it’s going to take some time for Pakistan, even where there is a will, to find a way in order to effectively deal with these extremists in areas that are fairly loosely governed from Islamabad,’’ he maintained.

His remarks follow some tough talking by US secretary of state Hillary Clinton and show Washington’s ‘dual policy’ towards Islamabad. “He is telling Pakistan we still have problems with you but you are still important to us,’’ said former Indian envoy to Pakistan G Parthasarathy. “He has gone out of his way to save Pakistan.

Though New Delhi has initiated the dialogue process with Islamabad, there is low expectation of any real outcome on the terror front. Experts believe that the Pakistani Army — which is the central figure — has not shed its anti-India policies and continues to perceive terror as a state policy.

US secretary of state Hillary Clinton issues a statement that sounded tough… but the real issue is has the military leadership in Pakistan changed its stand,’’ asked former foreign secretary Lalit Mansingh. “I don’t think there is any change in Pakistan’s approach on issue of terrorism.’’ He further noted that this kind of observation from the US on Pakistan has come earlier too.

Mr Obama maintained that the US aim is to build trust and continue working with the Pakistani government. “Our goal is to break down some of the old suspicions and the old bad habits and continue to work with the Pakistani government to see their interest in a stable Afghanistan which is free from foreign meddling — and that Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United States, the international community, should all be working to reduce the influence of extremists in those regions,’’ he said. He also said that the US is encouraged by Pakistan’s willingness to start asserting more control over some of these areas. “But it’s not going to happen overnight. And they have been taking enormous casualties; the Pakistani military has been going in fairly aggressively. But this will be a ongoing project,’’ he added.

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