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January 5, 2000
Pallone Wants Pak Declared A Terrorist State
Frank Pallone Jr, Democratic representative of the United States, has said that he may draft a legislation calling on the state department to declare Pakistan a terrorist state if the department failed to do so on its own.
Pallone, known for his strong anti-terrorism stand, said Tuesday that "now is the time" for the US and other major nations to declare Pakistan 'a state sponsor of terrorism.' ''The recently concluded Indian Airlines hijacking crisis is only the latest in a long series of incidents that point to Pakistan's role in promoting violence and instability in the region,'' he said in a statement.
Pallone said he would formalise his request to cite Pakistan a terrorist state through a letter to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Pending a response from the state department, he said he may draft a legislation to enforce his decision.
Referring to the US state department statement on Monday that Albright has not yet made a determination to name Pakistan a terrorist state, Pallone said he ''will continue to press for the status to be reviewed.''
While not rejecting outright Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's demand that Pakistan be declared a terrorist state, state department spokesman James Rubin told reporters on Monday that Pakistan has told the US it will meet its obligations under the international convention to apprehend and bring the hijackers to justice.
Pallone, the founder of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, said, ''Besides the terrorist organisations themselves, those countries that harbour terrorist organisations or provide them with technical, financial, political or other support should also be held accountable.''
Citing the national security adviser Brajesh Mishra, Pallone said "the last straw", showing Pakistan's clear association with terrorist activities was the radio conversation between the militant groups in Kashmir with links to the hijackers that were intercepted by Indian intelligence.
He said Indian officials have quoted reports indicating the presence of hijackers somewhere in Pakistan despite denials by the latter country's military dictatorship. ''Pakistan's response to these serious charges is to make the absurd allegation that India engineered the hijacking of its own citizens,'' he added.
He pointed out that in recent years some of the most notorious international terrorists, including those responsible for the World Trade Center bombings and the shootings at the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters, are finding refuge in Pakistan. ''Pakistan actually protested the US military action against terrorist training camps in Afghanistan,'' he said.
He reiterated his call for closer co-operation between the US and India to tackle terrorism at the international level. ''I believe that the global struggle against terrorism may have the long-term effect of more closely uniting India and the US, since both of our countries have been victims of the international terrorist movement with which Pakistan has been associated,'' Pallone said.
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