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India upset with US for underplaying Pak's role

India upset with US for underplaying Pak's role

Author: Chidanand Rajghatta
Publication: The Times of India
Date: August 1, 2006
URL: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1833213.cms

After reviewing satellite imagery - which the US used last year to prove the existence of jehadi camps in Pakistan in connection with a case involving a Pakistani father-and-son duo - for the jury, US government expert Eric Benn had said the mountainous location and description of the camp near Balakot in northeast Pakistan are consistent with statements made by accused Hamir Hayat. Hayat had been interrogated by FBI last June, when he returned to US after two years of training and indoctrination in Pakistan.

"The kind of information I got out of the (Hayat interview) transcript... is consistent with the physical things I observed," Benn testified in US district court. "This would be a militant camp."

The testimony undermines Pakistan's insistence that there are no terrorist camps in the country, a pro forma denial that is often buttressed by state department certification about Islamabad being a frontline ally in the war on terrorism. Pakistan has now turned around charges that it hosts terrorist groups to charge India with sponsoring terrorism in Pakistan.

It has also furnished its own list of terror suspects it wants New Delhi to apprehend and send back in lieu of India's 20-most wanted, including Dawood Ibrahim.

Indian officials are yet to review the Lodi case fully, but they say it has not gone unnoticed in anti-terrorism circles that young men of Pakistani origin are being prosecuted on terrorism charges in places from California to New York to Florida to Georgia to Toronto, Sydney, London and other areas in Europe. "You never hear of Iranians or Syrians being charged. It is always Pakistanis who have returned from Pakistan or are heading there," said an official, who asked not to be named.

New Delhi also appears sore at US state department for underplaying the gravity of Pakistan's role in terrorist activities to achieve its (Washington's) political objectives. Such repeated certifications of good behaviour, even in the face of evidence to the contrary from the US defence and intelligence agencies, only serve to embolden Pakistan's military establishment and undermine its civil institutions, Indian officials say.

Washington has also lost the plot in cases like Daniel Pearl's murder where Pakistan's military establishment is holding up execution of death sentence of the convict, Omar Sheikh, because of his links with the ISI, they added.

In recent months, US law enforcement authorities have cracked several cases, including the one in Virginia, of jehadis with connections to LeT. Lashkar, New Delhi now says, is more potent than the al-Qaida and virtually functions as al-Qaida's operating arm.

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