Washington, Nov 5: The US says it keeps pressing Pakistan to take steps to constrain militant groups operating in the region, particularly the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) responsible for Mumbai terror attacks and its political arm Jama’at-ud-Da’wah (JuD).
“We obviously continue to urge steps to constrain militant groups operating in the region, including these two in particular – JuD and LeT,” State Department spokesperson John Kirby told reporters Wednesday in response to a question. “LeT, as you know, is a designated foreign terrorist organization,” he said. “We absolutely believe that taking actions against them are fundamental to addressing the scourge of terrorism. There’s no question where we are on that.”
Kirby, who was asked to comment on reported Pakistani ban on media carrying images of terrorists, said the US regularly discussed with all its partners the importance of “balancing the fight against terrorism with the imperative to preserve civil liberties, including freedom of expression and freedom of the press.”
“So there’s a balance here to be struck, to be sure. And what I can tell you is we continue to have these discussions with leaders in Pakistan,” he said. While it was for Pakistan to explain “the reasoning behind its decisions,” Kirby said, “what I can tell you is we recognize there’s a balance to be struck here between the fight against terrorism and media freedom.”
“It’s a balance that every nation has to strike. Pakistan should speak for itself and for why it made this decision and how it’s going to execute this decision.” On former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf’s reported remark that Osama bin Laden was his and Pakistan’s hero, Kirby said he would let Musharraf speak for himself about how he feels about the slain Al Qaeda founder.
“I think it’s certainly no secret how we felt about him, and he’s no longer walking the earth, and that’s a good thing. And the top leadership of his organization, many of them are no longer walking the earth, and that’s a good thing,” he said.
“Al Qaeda is absolutely not the same organization it was under Osama bin Laden,” Kirby said. (IANS)