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'There is no way you can feed a viper and not be bitten by it'

September 10, 2007

What will the events unfolding in Pakistan mean for us?

A stable Pakistan is in our interest. As long as there is a responsible government in Pakistan, we hope they will recognize the seriousness of the dangers. You cannot export terror and not have it recoil on you, devour you in course of time. If you have a lawless country or lawless countries on your border, it compounds the problem.

There is a feeling that the ISI may not be as involved in terrorism as it was in the past.

We firmly believe that the ISI can certainly curtail, if not totally curb some of the major terrorist groups like the Lashkar. We have seen no evidence that that has taken place. Some people say infiltration has reduced (in Jammu and Kashmir).

Infiltration these days, takes place along so many sectors, not necessarily along the Line of Control. It takes place through Nepal, Bangladesh. Bangladesh has become a major routing pad. And, of course, via the sea.

So, quite clearly, much more can be done by the ISI. It is difficult to specify that in a particular incident the ISI was involved. But there is enough information available to show that its role has not been taken away.

There is also the feeling that the government's pro-US policies are responsible for the growing incidents of terror.

If you want to rationalise terror, this is a good way of rationalising it. I think it is the most absurd thing to propound. We have faced terror for the last 50 years in one form or the other. It has nothing to do with the (India-US civilian nuclear) accord.

You are dealing with a band of warriors who are fighting a war of their own making. There is standard talk of bleeding India through a thousand cuts. These are all standard statements. Today, international terrorism is on a rampage. We are particularly vulnerable because of several reasons.

We have perhaps and more so uniquely a very inclusive society. We have the second largest population of Muslims living in close proximity (with other communities), as part of an inclusive society. It is a good target.

Photograph: Pakistani policemen gather after taking over the Lal Masjid from radical students, July 27, 2007. Photograph: Aamir Qureshi/AFP/Getty Images

Also read: Jihad in Islamabad

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