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Pak will take action against Lashkar, says its ex-NSA Durrani

Pak will take action against Lashkar, says its ex-NSA Durrani

india Updated: Feb 04, 2015 03:43 IST
Saikat Datta
Saikat Datta
Hindustan Times
Durrani,Pakistan terrorism,terrorism in pakistan

It is rare for a visiting former Pakistani National Security Adviser (NSA) to claim that action would be taken against the Lashkar-e-Toiba, the architect of the 26/11 terrorist attack on Mumbai, and even rarer for him to admit that the ISI needed a course-correction. But Maj Gen Mahmud Durrani did just that at a discussion in Delhi on Tuesday.

The reason for this “change” within Pakistan, Durrani says, has been caused by the horrific attack on a Peshawar school that claimed 145 lives, majority of them children, in December last year. Durrani minced no words in saying that things had changed for Pakistan. “(The attack on the school) was an attack by the TTP to punish the Pakistan army.

This can become a crisis of identity for us,” said Durrani at a discussion on the attack at the Observer Research Foundation in Delhi on Tuesday.

On a private visit to India, Durrani also met the Indian NSA, AK Doval, on Monday evening. It is believed that Durrani was carrying a message from the Pakistani establishment which is keen to begin bilateral talks with its neighbour. Talks were suspended after the Pakistani High Commissioner to India met Kashmiri separatists last year. While Durrani did not divulge any details, it is understood that Durrani conveyed these sentiments to Doval.

“I don’t think a change of name (from Lashkar-e-Toiba to Jamat-ud-Dawa) should make any difference. A bad man (Hafeez Sayeed) is a bad man,” Durrani said while replying to a specific question on Pakistan’s policy on the LeT and its leader Sayeed.

Durrani admitted that Pakistan’s policy of creating strategic depth in Afghanistan has not worked. “Pakistan is paying for its mistakes and the ‘strategic depth’ of ensuring a friendly Afghanistan has been a failure,” Durrani admitted. Its main intelligence agency, the ISI, Durrani admitted, needed to shift its focus. “The ISI should be corrected and improved but not destroyed. (We can) look at the direction of ISI and correct it, if necessary,” he said. Durrani served as the Pakistani ambassador to the US when Gen Pervez Musharraff was the President and was then appointed as the NSA between 2008 and 2009 when the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) was in power.

First Published: Feb 04, 2015 03:40 IST