Asserting that Pakistan needs to do more to bring the 26/11 Mumbai terror attackers to justice, former British foreign secretary David Miliband has asked western powers to be firm with Islamabad on the issue.
Pakistan needs to do more to hold the November 2008 attackers accountable and if Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), blamed for the attack, is expanding its reach, "then we need to be even more insistent on the need to roll up that infrastructure," he said in Washington on Friday.
"I am the politician who went to Islamabad in January 2009 and said, without fear or favour, in respect to the Mumbai bombings, those people need to be put on trial; and if they are prosecuted, they need to be punished," Miliband, who has been an outspoken politician and served under former prime minister Gordon Brown, said at the Council on Foreign Relations, a Washington based think tank.
"And I still say publicly, not enough has been done to bring those trials to a conclusion," he said. "If it's true that the LeT is developing global ambitions for its terrorism and its own capacity to do so, as well as regional ones, we have to be even more insistent on the need to roll up that infrastructure," Miliband said. The LeT, through its front organisation, provides a huge amount of welfare and other civil society outfits, "but they move into the vacuum," he noted.
But even as he voiced alarm at the LeT influence inside Pakistani society, Miliband said there is no alternative to continuing to work directly with Islamabad. "We should be engaging with Pakistan; on the other hand, I feel very comfortable speaking very plainly about the responsibilities that they have," he said.
Demanding that Islamabad do more against militants in India and Afghanistan, Miliband welcomed a letter sent by US President Barack Obama to Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari in late 2009, offering Islamabad expanded cooperation.
"It was a very important step, proposing a strategic relationship for the US and Pakistan to replace the unbalanced, essentially military-only relationship, individual leader-based relationship, of the past," he said.
Calling on the US, along with Pakistan's neighbours, to keep trying to engage Islamabad both politically and economically, Miliband said, "If you think it difficult, frustrating, enervating, dangerous dealing with Pakistan at the moment as a partner, try fulfilling your own interests in South Asia without Pakistan as a partner."