UK Daily Mail
Monday, Dec 01, 2008
Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has appealed to India not to punish his country for last week’s attacks, saying militants could precipitate a regional war.
Mr Zardari, whose wife, Benazir Bhutto, was assassinated by Islamist militants last year, warned that provocation by rogue ‘non-state actors’ posed the danger of a return to war between the nuclear-armed neighbours.
‘Even if the militants are linked to Lashkar-e-Taiba, who do you think we are fighting?’ asked Mr Zardari in an interview with the Financial Times today.
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Analysts say last week’s Mumbai assaults by Islamist militants bore the hallmarks of Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistan-based group blamed for attacks in India including a 2001 parliament blast that almost plunged the two countries into a fourth war.
‘We live in troubled times where non-state actors have taken us to war before, whether it is the case of those who perpetrated [the] 9/11 [attacks on the United States] or contributed to the escalation of the situation in Iraq,’ said Mr Zardari.
‘Now, events in Mumbai tell us that there are ongoing efforts to carry out copycat attacks by militants. We must all stand together to fight out this menace.’
Indian officials have said the 10 attackers who held Mumbai hostage came from Pakistan, a Muslim nation carved out of Hindu-majority India in 1947.
Yesterday India said it had proof linking its nuclear rival Pakistan to the massacre – and warned it would raise security to a ‘war level’.
In an effort to ease tension between the two states, The White House said that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would travel to India on Wednesday.
This article was posted: Monday, December 1, 2008 at 5:11 am