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'Zardari needs to answer questions'

world Updated: Nov 29, 2008 19:10 IST

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari needs to answer the question whether the country's spy agency, ISI, was unaware of terrorists' plan to attack Mumbai, a prominent British daily said on Saturday.

"The gunmen arrived in Mumbai by dirigible boats apparently launched from ships that had sailed from Karachi. Could Pakistani intelligence have been unaware of a paramilitary operation of this scale?" The Daily Telegraph said in an editorial.

"This is a question that President Asif Zardari urgently needs to answer, and not just to satisfy foreign critics." the editorial said.

"Pakistan as a nation must realise that its future rests on eradicating the Islamist terrorists' training in the tribal areas in its north-western territories; on purging extremist elements from the ISI, the intelligence wing of its military; and in halting the jihadist indoctrination of young people (including Britons, given their suspected involvement in the Mumbai atrocity) in its Saudi-funded madrassas," it said.

Noting that Pakistan has promised to work with India against the scourge of terrorism, the paper said that was an "easy thing to say" but wondered if it is "up to the task of reforming public institutions riddled with Islamist ideology?"

"For that is what must happen if the world is to be protected from conflict between the subcontinent's nuclear powers," the daily said.