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Ambassador speculates on foreign involvement -

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Reporter: Eleanor Hall

ELEANOR HALL: Pakistan's ambassador to the United States, Husain Haqqani, says he was shocked by
the attack and that he would not yet rule out any international terrorist group from being
responsible for it.

But he would not be drawn on reports that a Pakistani Minister is already pointing the finger at
India.

Ambassador Haqqani spoke to me from Washington earlier today.

Ambassador Haqqani, what was your reaction when you got the news? Were you shocked at the targeting
of a cricket team?

HUSAIN HAQQANI: It certainly was a shock and nobody expected the Sri Lankan team to be targeted. In
the past when the Australian tour was contemplated and the Indian tour, people did raise security
concerns on grounds of Australia's involvement in the Iraq and Afghan military operations alongside
the United States.

Sri Lanka seemed like a very safe bet. Nobody in Pakistan has any animus towards Sri Lanka and it
was not expected that there would be such an attack on Sri Lankan players.

ELEANOR HALL: What is the latest from Pakistan? Is there any word yet on who was responsible for
this attack?

HUSAIN HAQQANI: When the Indian side blamed Pakistan within minutes of the Mumbai attack, Pakistan
took the position, which was the correct position, that allegations should not be levelled without
proper investigation.

I think because of that, we will stick to that principle and not start sharing titbits of
intelligence. We would rather complete the investigation and then ascertain who was responsible.

ELEANOR HALL: Are you saying that there are some hints, some signals about who might be
responsible?

HUSAIN HAQQANI: I don't think it is appropriate for us to get into this speculative round or
discussion.

ELEANOR HALL: Now you say that there was immediate finger pointing after the Mumbai bombings and
there should be no finger pointing now. However Pakistan's Shipping Minister is quoted in Reuters
as blaming the Indian Government saying that it is trying to destroy Pakistan's international
reputation in retaliation for the Mumbai attacks. What is your view of that position?

HUSAIN HAQQANI: I think I have already stated my position and I will stick to that.

ELEANOR HALL: You are saying that the Pakistani Shipping Minister shouldn't be making these sorts
of comments?

HUSAIN HAQQANI: I am not a television or radio anchor person so I don't indulge in commenting on
other people's statements. I only make mine.

ELEANOR HALL: How damaging is this for the Pakistani Government which had guaranteed the Sri Lankan
teams security?

HUSAIN HAQQANI: Terrorism is a global reality. Unfortunately no-one can guarantee 100 per cent that
there would be no act of terrorism. The good and important thing is that the Pakistani security
personnel laid down their own lives to protect and save the Sri Lankan cricketers. So in that sense
Pakistan kept its word and did fulfil its end of the bargain.

ELEANOR HALL: Do you think this was an attempt to destabilise the Government?

HUSAIN HAQQANI: I think that the Government of Pakistan and democracy, a government in Pakistan
that is resolved to fight terrorism and a democracy in Pakistan is something that terrorists
certainly do not like.

So to that extent, the terrorists in each of their targets; whether it is the Mumbai attacks,
whether it is the attack at Lahore, whether it is all the other terrorist attacks that have taken
place, including the Marriott Hotel bombing in Islamabad, the purpose has been to undermine
democracy, to weaken Pakistan's Government that has the people's support and that has the resolve
to fight terrorism.

The terrorists would prefer a government that did not have the kind of resolve that President Asif
Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani have shown.

ELEANOR HALL: And to what extent do you think the terrorists have succeeded? Has this damaged
Pakistan's international reputation and indeed its authority at home?

HUSAIN HAQQANI: I think that it is important to remember that every act of terrorism confers on the
terrorist a degree of strength in the sense that they feel ah, we got away with it. So it is very
important to find the terrorists, punish them and make sure that future acts of terrorism do not
take place and that terrorists in their safe havens are eliminated.

ELEANOR HALL: The Indian Government is calling on the Pakistani Government to, as it says - to once
and for all - dismantle the terrorist networks in Pakistan. Is that a fair call?

HUSAIN HAQQANI: I think that the entire international community needs to work together to eliminate
all terrorist networks that operate in any part of the world. We all need to share intelligence. We
all need to share with each other the information that will enable the dismantling of terrorist
infrastructure wherever it might exist.

ELEANOR HALL: So does the Pakistani Government need more international assistance to deal with this
insurgent threat - particularly in the country's north-west?

HUSAIN HAQQANI: Pakistan has been working with the international community to ensure that we get
more support and build greater capability for our armed forces as well as other intelligence
services in dealing with the insurgency and the terrorist threat throughout Pakistan.

ELEANOR HALL: Now you have also been Pakistan's Ambassador to Sri Lanka. You know well the
situation there. Do you think there is any chance that Tamils could be responsible for this attack?

HUSAIN HAQQANI: Terrorist groups that attack governments and wage insurgencies can act and attack
anywhere. So without, again, going into the speculative round of who is responsible without the
investigation having been completed, I would not rule any group or any potential group out.

ELEANOR HALL: Ambassador Haqqani, thanks very much for speaking to us.

HUSAIN HAQQANI: Pleasure talking to you.

ELEANOR HALL: That is Pakistan's Ambassador to the United States, Ambassador Husain Haqqani
speaking to me from Washington.