US Threaten's Pakistan, Dismal over Lakhvi's Release
WASHINGTON: Pakistan has been warned by the United States of dire consequences for freeing Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, a suspect in the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks.
The Lahore Hight court, due lack of evidence set Lahvi free on Friday to which our foreign office Spokesperson, Tasnim Aslam, blamed India for the “inordinate delay” in providing evidence of Lakhvi’s involvement in the attack “weakened the prosecution’s case”, on Saturday.
Jeff Rathke, spokesperson to the State Department, indicated that an explanations as such was not acceptable by the US administration stating “We are gravely concerned about the release on bail of alleged Mumbai attack mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi.”
“We have communicated that concern to senior Pakistani officials over the course of many months, and as recently as yesterday.”
He said that terrorist attacks were an assault on the collective safety and security of all countries and Pakistan had pledged its cooperation in bringing the perpetrators, financiers, and sponsors of the Mumbai terrorist attacks to justice.
“We urge Pakistan to follow through on that commitment to ensure justice for the 166 innocent people, including six Americans, who lost their lives,” the US official said.
Mr Rathke said the US Embassy in Islamabad had already conveyed Washington’s concerns to Pakistani officials.
Asked if the United States could also take steps, such as cancelling the billion-dollar arms deal announced last week, to persuade Pakistan to re-arrest Lakhvi, the official said: “I’m not going to speculate about consequences or repercussions from the podium, but I think I’ve made clear that we’re gravely concerned about this development.”
When a journalist suggested that verbal warnings may not persuade Pakistan to go after Lakhvi, Mr Rathke said:
We’re going to look at this development and decide what consequences to draw from it. But I’m not going to get ahead of that process.”
The State Department officials, however, refused to say how soon the United States would take measures, if any, to bring Lakhvi back in the prison.
“I’m not going to put a timeline on it. But certainly, bringing the perpetrators of the Mumbai terrorist attacks to justice is a key priority. And we stand by that. So we’ll continue working in that direction,” he said.
When another journalist asked him to identify the steps the US may take, the official said he was not going to “foreshadow any specific steps. We’ve got to look at this and decide what (to do.)”
Asked if there would be any step at all, Mr Rathke said:
“That’s what we’ve got to consider. I’m not trying to say that there necessarily will be a particular step.”
He agreed with a suggestion that the US administration was still trying to decide what steps to take.
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