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Pakistan Can Look Out for Its Own Interests

April 08, 2002

Re "Keep Pakistan on Target," editorial, April 3: The question why it took so long to apprehend Abu Zubeida betrays a lack of basic understanding about the very nature of counter-terrorism operations. They require the collection of extensive intelligence information, meticulous planning and smooth execution--necessarily a time-consuming exercise. That Osama bin Laden and the senior Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders are still to be apprehended, despite the deployment of all necessary military and intelligence resources by the coalition, proves how difficult and time-consuming this enterprise is.

Those familiar with the porous nature of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border recognize how difficult it is to completely seal it. Our armed forces and police are making their best efforts to prevent any cross-border movement, a fact underscored by the arrest of several Al Qaeda and Taliban elements.

The conclusion that the government may have released some of the Islamist detainees to curry favor with religious parties is ridiculous. These parties have no clout. They have never managed to get more than 5% of the popular vote. Only those persons against whom no criminal charges were proved have been released. Our campaign against extremism must remain within the bounds of the rule of law and due process.

Your negative characterization of the Inter-Services Intelligence agency also runs contrary to facts. This agency has played a pivotal role in helping the U.S. achieve the successes that it has in the war on terrorism.

Finally, President Pervez Musharraf has taken all his strategic decisions in keeping with Pakistan's supreme interests. No one needs to remind us what our "best interests" are.

Asad Hayauddin

Press Attache

Embassy of Pakistan

Washington

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