London: Pakistan’s “friends” like the US and the UK should persuade it to close terrorist training camps operating there, Home Minister P Chidambaram has said.
In an interview to BBC, he also said that the civilian government in Pakistan has not moved towards reining in the ISI and likened terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba to al-Qaeda.
Chidambaram, on an official visit here, said things would be better “if there is a truly civilian government in Pakistan which can rein in the ISI and direct the army and the ISI to move in and dismantle their terror infrastructure”.
“The camps must be closed. Training must come to an end”, he said.
To a question whether he has seen any movement in that direction in Pakistan, Chidambaram replied “nothing so far”.
Asked what he believed would persuade Pakistan to do that, he said, “the UK, the US know the answer to that question better. Certainly, we have not been able to persuade
Pakistan. It is Pakistan’s friends, mutual friends, who would have to bring pressure on Pakistan.”
Chidambaram said it would be “naive” for Western countries to think that only India faces the threat from Pakistan-based terrorists.
“Once you allow these terror groups to train, recruit and be able to build capacity to strike, they can strike in India, they can strike in UK, they can strike in Denmark as they were planning out of the Karachi project”, he said.
“No country is truly safe….Don’t think that India alone is under threat. Every country is under threat from these groups and the Lashkar-e-Taiba today is like the al-Qaeda, a multi-country group”.
About his reading of what happened in Pune, Chidambaram said, “Pune was a case where it slipped through the cracks.
Pune was a target. There was specific intelligence shared by the Central government with the Maharashtra police and the government. The area, Koregaon park was under a security cover.
“Three times advisory was given to German Bakery and its manager’s acknowledged the advisory on every single occasion but they did nothing. They did not even take the minimum security precautions. So, it is an unfortunate case that I would say slipped through the cracks.”
He added, “As I said in Parliament, it’s a blot. But the lesson is that when there is intelligence, pointed intelligence and advisories are issued, people must cooperate.
shops, establishments, hotels, malls must take minimal security precautions.”
Asked what had he learnt from Pune about the connection to Pakistan, the Home minister said, “Nothing so far has been brought to my notice.”
To a question if he knew where the plot originated from, Chidambaram replied, “I don’t know. The investigation is on.
Unless it is complete, I can’t comment on it.”