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Talk straight with Pak on terror: Expert to Bush

Expert asks Bush not to shy away from straight talk on terrorism with Musharraf when he meets the Pakistani President.

india Updated: Sep 20, 2006 10:36 IST

US President George Bush should make it clear to Pakistan that there is no justification for violence in Kashmir, an expert of a conservative think tank has said.

Observing that Islamabad still maintains a "permissive attitude" towards indigenous militant groups, the expert also asked Bush not to shy away from straight talk on terrorism with Musharraf when he meets the Pakistani President on Friday.

"Musharraf may seek US support for Pakistan's position on Kashmir, but Washington should make clear that there is no justification for the use of violence," Lisa Curtis of The Heritage Foundation has said in a piece titled "Fine Tuning Relations with Pakistan".

"Recent reports of possible connections of Pakistan-based Kashmir groups to international terrorist plots demonstrate the inherent dangers of Islamabad maintaining a permissive attitude toward indigenous militant groups," the expert said.

Curtis said although President Musharraf and Prime Minister Singh agreed to establish an 'institutional mechanism' to implement counter-terrorism initiatives, but lack of trust between the nuclear-armed neighbours will make it difficult to achieve concrete results in the short-term"

The scholar said Islamabad was frustrated after the Indo-US nuclear deal as they viewed it as a US tilt towards India

"The US has been clear that it is not contemplating a similar nuclear deal with Pakistan and should instead focus on promoting economic ties and other development initiatives that demonstrate US interest in fostering human development and stability in Pakistan." Curtis said.

Calling the deal that General Musharraf struck with the Pakistani leaders on September 5 "incredibly risky" the Heritage scholar has made it clear that the White House will have to get to the bottom of this deal when Bush meets General Musharraf.

"President Bush will need to seek clarification from President Musharraf on these worrisome trends and underscore the importance of ensuring Pakistan does not serve as a safe haven for those who are seeking to destabilize Afghanistan or planning international terrorist operations. This should be a crucial and non-negotiable United States objective," she said.

"For now US officials appear willing to give Musharraf's new strategy the benefit of doubt, although they admit it is unclear whether it will help end attacks on coalition forces in Afghanistan or contain the threat of another major international terror attack."

Questioning the US stand on the deal, she said why halting those operations now be seen as a move in the right direction as the administration had been saying that Pakistan's military operations in the tribal areas were a sign of success on the counter-terrorism front.

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