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Pakistan should unite against enemy within, says Miliband

The British Foreign Secretary has asked Pakistan's political leaders to unite in the face of a "mortal threat" from the homegrown Islamist militants suspected of attacking Sri Lankan cricket team this week.Pakistan is unsafe for cricket, says Ganguly

world Updated: Mar 07, 2009 21:09 IST

Britain has asked Pakistan's political leaders to unite in the face of a "mortal threat" - not from India, but from the homegrown Islamist militants suspected of attacking Sri Lankan cricket team this week.

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and opposition leader Nawaz Sharif should focus on combating extremism in the eastern province of Punjab, now the militants' main recruiting ground, British Foreign Secretary David Milband told the Today Programme on BBC.

"I think that the degree of political disunity that exists at the moment is only contributing to the problem.

"It is now vital that, whatever the political differences between President Zardari and Nawaz Sharif... They come together to unite against the mortal threat which Pakistan faces, which is a threat from its internal enemies, not from its traditional external enemies," he said. Miliband said the Pakistani Government should focus on providing education and other public services that are delivered in some areas by militant groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

Pakistan still spends more than twice as much on its armed forces as it does on education, forcing many parents to send their children to Islamic seminaries where they risk being indoctrinated by extremists, he said.

"You have a recipe for people seeking a better life for their kids turning to madrassas and turning to extremists," he said.