Mullen to ‘read the riot act’ to Pakistan
* US army chief says Pakistan govt needs to crack down on insurgent safe havens
By Khalid Hasan
WASHINGTON: United States Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen will be in Pakistan to “read the riot act” to the government and express his country’s frustration with Islamabad’s lack of ability or willingness, or both, to move decisively against terrorist groups.
A well-informed source, when asked if US patience with what it sees as Pakistani “flip-flop and procrastination” is running out, said: “It is very close to that.” When it does, the world will see unilateral US military action, covert and overt, in the Tribal Areas. Actionable intelligence, when received, will be acted upon immediately, “with or without Pakistan”, he added.
Washington’s frustration is compounded by its inability to perceive who is “calling the shots” in Islamabad. It wants an effective government in the country and would prefer to have Pakistan People’s Party Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari return to Dubai; the governing coalition reinstated with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz back in cabinet; the judges’ issue resolved; and a workable relationship established with the army high command.
But more than anything, Washington wants Pakistan to decide whose side its on. The administration believes that the present state of drift, with selective peace deals and continuing terrorism, is helping nobody.
Safe havens: Separately, Mullen told reporters in Kabul that Pakistan’s government needed to crack down on insurgent safe havens in the Tribal Areas as more foreign fighters, including Al Qaeda, were operating along the Pak-Afghan border, AP reported.