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Pakistan must act on terrorism, and fast: PM


Mumbai : India Saturday kept up the pressure on Pakistan to bring those behind the horrific Mumbai terrorist attacks to book, with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh saying he expected Islamabad to act swiftly on the evidence given by his government.

“We have shared the evidence that we have gathered so far on the incidents with Pakistan and others. Pakistan has admitted that the arrested terrorist is their national,” the prime minister said at The Economic Times Awards function here.

“We expect Pakistan to take all the consequent next steps against all those who have planned, organised and executed these horrific crimes,” he told the event at the sea-facing Trident Hotel – one of the 10 places targeted during the Nov 26 attacks.

Manmohan Singh, in fact, started his speech after asking the assembled guests to observe a minute’s silence as a mark of respect for the 170-odd people who lost their lives in what he described as “horrific act”.

The prime minister said the Pakistani government had announced that the results of their investigations would be made public in a few days and that it should discharge its obligations and honour the bilateral commitments.

“I urge Pakistani authorities to come out with a full and complete disclosure of all the facts surrounding the case, without attempts at denial, diversion or obfuscation,” said the prime minister.

“Pakistan should act against the LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba) and other terror groups and their sponsors – in its own interest,” he said, adding: “It should ensure nothing like Mumbai, or the attack on our Embassy in Kabul ever happens again.”

According to the prime minister, not only hundreds of innocent Indians, but also civilians from 21 countries were either killed or injured in the attacks on India’s commercial capital.

“If Pakistan is sincere in its words, it should show through its actions that it would not tolerate these assaults on civilized norms of behaviour.”

He said India expected the international community to use its full weight to see that the investigations are pursued vigorously and brought to speedy and logical conclusion so that terror groups operating from Pakistan are completely shut.

Devoting the better part of his speech to terrorism and countering the menace, the prime minister said his government recognised the fact that this was a problem that India would have to tackle itself with its own sources and determination.

“We need to strengthen our ability to deal with such attacks, our intelligence capability to anticipate them,” he said, adding: “The Mumbai attacks revealed deficiencies in our systems that we are working to remedy.”

He said following the attacks, a number of steps were taken to strengthen the country’s ability to fight terrorism, including the tightening of laws and by establishing a National Investigating Agency.

India has also finalised details of a coastal defence system in which the navy would play a key role while the coastal command would directly function under the coast guard.

“Steps to improve our intelligence gathering capability, including the use of more sophisticated technology, have also been initiated.”

The prime minister said even though the horrific event of Nov 26 was behind us, the scars it left behind remained.

“My heart goes out to the families of those who lost their lives and also those who suffered injuries. I particularly wish to salute the bravery and sacrifice of the men of the Mumbai Police and the NSG (National Security Guards) who laid down their lives fighting against this attack,” he said.

“I was a resident of Mumbai for three happy years and I feel keenly the pain and anger of the city. To the people of Mumbai, I can only say that we will spare no effort to ensure that their city does not suffer any such attack in the future.”