US rejects allegation of involvement in Benazir assassination | world | Hindustan Times
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US rejects allegation of involvement in Benazir assassination

The Obama Administration termed the allegation of Pakistan's former Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) head Hamid Gul about the US' involvement in assassination of Benazir Bhutto as "outrageous" and "baseless" on Thursday.

world Updated: Apr 22, 2010 11:00 IST

The Obama Administration termed the allegation of Pakistan's former Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) head Hamid Gul about the US' involvement in assassination of Benazir Bhutto as "outrageous" and "baseless" on Thursday.

"That is outrageous," a senior State Department official told reporters here after the US Embassy in Islamabad dismissed such an allegation coming from Gul about Bhutto's murder and the UN report on it.

"He is frequent commentator on television, and certainly has an anti-American agenda," the official said.

"General Gul made an outrageous suggestion that the US was responsible for assassination of Benazir Bhutto. And Jamaat claimed the US was somehow responsible for the terrible attack on their peaceful demonstration in Peshawar on Monday," PJ Crowley, Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, told reporters.

"Such comments are baseless and irresponsible and should be examined by Pakistani media objectively. The US and Pakistan were fighting and our citizens were dying at the hands of these common enemies," he said.

Crowley said extremists do not discriminate between striking Pakistani and American targets and continue to claim innocent lives of people from all walks of life, "from the peaceful Jamaat protesters to Benazir Bhutto."

"We are encouraged by the recent trends in Pakistani public opinion that recognise the value of the ongoing strategic dialogue and ever-improving cooperation between the United States and Pakistan," he said.

The State Department official said that many people in Pakistan have recognise the positive tone and substance in the US-Pakistan relationship.

"Our strategic partnership involves working together to address the needs of the Pakistani people and the security of Pakistan and the region," Crowley said.

He said the US and Pakistan "together can and must take a stand" against those who would serve as apologists for terrorists.

"In the best spirit of a free press, Pakistani editors and newsmakers should strive to highlight the irresponsibility of unfounded statements like these that are designed to divide rather than unite us," Crowley said.

Acknowledging that the US' low image in Pakistan is an issue of great concern to the Obama Administration, Crowley said the government was working hard in this regard.

"We have spent a great deal of effort building this relationship, explaining more significantly to Pakistani people, along with the Secretary (of State) in Pakistan, doing that, and we think that has helped change the environment. I think there was a significant and positive response to the recent US-Pakistan strategic dialogue," he said, adding but this remains a work in progress and US would continue dialogue with Pakistan in the coming weeks and months.