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14 December 2008

Al Qaeda, Pak link to 75% of terror attacks in UK: Brown

NEW DELHI: Over three-fourths of terrorist attacks investigated in the UK had Al Qaeda and Pakistan links, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said during a whistlestop tour of India and Pakistan on Sunday. His comment became the latest blow to Pakistan which is trying hard to distance itself from the Mumbai attacks.

After meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to express solidarity with India in the wake of the Mumbai attacks, Brown, in a damning indictment of Pakistan, said, "The group responsible for the attacks is LeT and they have a great deal to answer for."

Brown later travelled to Islamabad and launched a $9 million counter-terrorism programme with Pakistan. He also asked the two countries to give British investigators permission to question terror suspects in both countries.

In India, he asked for British investigators to be given access to arrested terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab. UK investigators have already been given a great degree of access to the investigations. The request, sources said, was an acknowledgment of how close the issue of radical Islam and terrorism had come to British society. "It's important to recognise that wherever there is terrorism, it has to be fought, and where there is terrorism, it affects the stability and cohesion of countries," Brown said.

He added, "No country should have to go through what India has had to go through as a result of the Mumbai outrages. I've said to Prime Minister Singh we will give every help that we can. We will work together in tackling terrorism. And we will work together on the issue of security."

In Islamabad, Brown talked tough and told President Asif Ali Zardari that Pakistan should stop providing safe haven to terrorists and needed to undertake more action.

Pakistan's isolation in the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks is now almost complete, and the pressure on the cash-starved country is increasing every day. Brown did not mince words even in Afghanistan where he made an unscheduled stop. "There is a chain of terror that comes from the Pakistani and Afghan mountains right across to Europe and can end up very easily on the streets of Britain," he said.

Brown's visit to the region was intended as much to show solidarity as to address a growing security problem within British society itself -- the increasing radicalisation of British Muslims, many of whom have been accused of funding organisations like the LeT and JuD.

Brown and his party expect to be criticised by the Conservative party on this issue.

A few months ago, the UK government took the unprecedented step of publishing guidelines on combating Islamic extremism on university campuses. The higher education minister, Bill Rammell, was quoted as saying, "There is evidence of serious, but not widespread, Islamist extremist activity in higher educational institutions." The trouble, say British media reports, is that many of those radicalised frequently travel to Pakistan and many even reportedly undergo jihadi training in Pakistan's numerous camps.

Pakistan's isolation is increasing pressure on the civilian government to act against the terror groups, but the underlying message is that Pakistan's military-intelligence complex needs to be purged of its destructive ideologies and its instruments of terror. Whether that can be effected by Pakistan's fragile civilian government is uncertain


POSTED BY /  http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

19:42 Posted in ENGLAND | Permalink | Comments (0) |  Facebook |

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