Clinton Asks Pakistan to Prove it Does Not Back Terrorism
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) _ President-elect Clinton has given Pakistan six months to refute Indian charges it is sponsoring international terrorism, Pakistan’s government said Saturday.
U.S. officials in Washington said Friday that Pakistan would not be labeled a terrorist state for now, but they expressed concern about reports of Pakistani support for Kashmiri and Sikh militants in India.
Pakistani Foreign Secretary Shaharyar Khan said Clinton’s message was contained in a letter delivered Thursday by U.S. Ambassador John Manjo.
Shaharyar said Pakistan was told it has four to six months to convince the incoming U.S. administration it is not backing secessionists in India’s violence-ridden states of Kashmir and Punjab.
″The government of Pakistan is of course giving (Sikh and Kashmiri militants) moral, political and diplomatic support, but we are not giving them any military support,″ Shaharyar said.
He said Pakistan has not replied to the letter, but that Islamabad and Washington will continue a dialogue that has gone on over the past year.
Hindu India accuses Muslim Pakistan of fomenting violence in India’s only Muslim-majority state, Jammu-Kashmir, where nearly 9,000 people have died in a secessionist uprising that began in 1990. India also accuses Pakistan of arming and training Sikh secessionists in Punjab.
Shaharyar countered that there is a ″very serious state terrorism situation″ in Kashmir. He referred to an incident Wednesday in the Kashmir town of Sopore, where at least 57 people were killed when Indian troops opened fire on civilians and set fire to a market after clashes with Muslim militants.
The U.S. officials said there is strong evidence that Kashmiri and Sikh militants have received training in Pakistan and that Pakistan has given them weapons. They also said that adding Pakistan to the U.S terrorism list was being seriously considered by the U.S. State Department.
Countries on the terrorism list are barred from receiving U.S. aid, purchasing U.S.-made weapons and obtaining U.S. support in international lending institutions. Trade benefits also are withdrawn,
The United States in 1990 froze $573 million in aid to Pakistan because U.S. law requires recipients to certify they do not have or cannot make nuclear weapons. Pakistan acknowledged last year it could make a nuclear bomb.