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West prods Pakistan on antiterror fight – with aid

The US is finalizing a $15 billion aid package, Sen. John Kerry told Indian newspapers Monday.

By Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor, Shahan MuftiCorrespondent of The Christian Science Monitor / December 16, 2008

Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari, (r.), meets British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, (l.), at the Presidential House in Islamabad, Pakistan, Sunday. Brown pledged more technical support and funding to help Pakistan and India battle terrorism in the wake of attacks in Mumbai that killed more than 160 people.




When British Prime Minister Gordon Brown stated unequivocally Sunday that Pakistani militants were behind the Nov. 26 attacks in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, standing beside him, conspicuously did not concur.

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Nearly three weeks after the Mumbai rampage began, the world appears increasingly convinced of the link between Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistani militant group, and Mumbai.

Pakistan, however, is not. It has not seen India's evidence, Mr. Zardari said. With India leading the calls for a crackdown, historic insecurities also come into play, says Laila Bushra, a Pakistani sociologist: "No one … wants to be seen bowing to Indian pressure."

A stalemate is looming. In hopes of breaking it, the United States and Britain are readying as much as $16 billion in aid, hoping money will push the financially troubled nation toward greater action. "Aid can be an effective lever to do this," says M.J. Gohel, a South Asia analyst at the Asia Pacific Foundation in London.

The goals reach beyond the current crisis. The US and Britain want Pakistan to dismantle the entire militant infrastructure it assembled in the 1980s, but which now threatens the state and the world. On his visit, Mr. Brown traced three-quarters of terrorist plots in Britain to Pakistan.

Pakistan is already taking action, with two major offensives against militants along its Afghan border. The money would support this effort and expand it. Brown pledged $9 million for improving security and for education to "break the chain of terrorism that links the mountains of Afghanistan to the streets of Britain."

The US is preparing to finalize a $15 billion aid package for Pakistan, Sen. John Kerry (D) of Massachusetts told reporters during a visit to New Delhi Monday. But unlike the Bush administration's policy of virtually writing $11 billion in blank checks to Pakistan since 9/11, Senator Kerry suggested that there would now be conditions – such as bringing Pakistan's spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate, under civilian control. He said the ISI formed Lashkar-e-Taiba, though he didn't say that links still exist today.