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Charles Tannock MEP: Pakistan must prove it is not ambivalent to terror

Charles Tannock is Conservative MEP for London. Charles Tannock

As the bin Laden death has once again turned the spotlight onto Pakistan's efforts to root out terrorists on its own soil, as European Conservatives and Reformists group spokesman on foreign affairs, I today called on Pakistan to prove that there are no elements of collusion or 'turning a blind eye' to terrorism within certain circles of its administration or the Pakistani intelligence service, the ISI.

I am concerned that some in the Pakistani ruling circles see global jihadi organisations including al-Qaeda as potentially useful allies against Indian interests in South Asia, and in particular in Kashmir and Afghanistan. Also, some in Pakistan fear that a full eradication of home-grown terror would also see the loss of vital economic and military aid from the West aimed at assisting the fight against jihadi groups, which has allegedly in the past been used instead to procure big-ticket military items against India rather than counter-insurgency equipment.

I have warned the Pakistani authorities that serious questions need to be answered as to how the world's most wanted man could live for some time in the middle of a garrison town in a large compound.

Osama bin Laden was responsible for the deaths of many hundreds of European citizens including many from London, the region I represent. He espoused hatred and jihadi violence against the West and the killing of innocent civilians. In the end he got what he deserved.

Bin Laden's ability to live relatively freely and undisturbed in a large property in a town full of soldiers is rightly raising serious questions. I find it hard to believe that no-one in Pakistan's military and security agencies knew bin Laden was living in Abottabad.

For years we've been hearing reports about alleged links between the ISI and al-Qaeda, and the circumstances of bin Laden's death do nothing to dispel those rumours.

This operation raises more questions than it answers about the entire Pakistani administration's declared commitment to defeat jihadi terrorism on its own soil. Ironically, few countries have suffered more from terrorism than Pakistan but some of its officials and intelligence agents are, at best, turning a blind eye and, at worst, collaborating with those supporting Jihadi fundamentalism.

There seem to be rogue elements in the Pakistani military whose intense hostility to India has made them misguidedly see the global jihadi movement as a potential ally, particularly in their fight to reduce Indian influence in Afghanistan and Kashmir.


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