LONDON (Reuters) – Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari said on Tuesday Britain has to tackle its own issues of deprivation to stop the radicalisation of British Muslims.
In an interview with ITV’s “News at Ten”, he rejected the suggestion it was Pakistan’s role to win the hearts and minds of radicalised British Muslims, although he said his country would arrest any radical Briton visiting Pakistan and send them back to the UK.
|Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari in Brussels, June 17, 2009. Zardari said on Tuesday Britain has to tackle its own issues of deprivation to stop the radicalisation of British Muslims. (REUTERS/Francois Lenoir)|
“The appeal has to be on the other side,” he was due to say in the programme to be aired on Tuesday evening.
“I think Britain has to take the responsibility and make sure that they do not feel the deprivation they have been. Because we all know this is a state of mind that comes up from some kind of this.
“And one has to fight it in Britain and not in Pakistan.”
British security services say there have been Pakistani links to almost all of the dozen major terrorism plots foiled since 2001, including the London bombings in 2005.
Sky News, citing unnamed sources, earlier this year said Pakistan’s intelligence service had identified more than 20 Britons who had been trained by militants in Pakistan and had returned to Britain, where they posed a security threat.
In the interview, Zardari denied any knowledge of militant training camps in Pakistan and said it was an “old thought” among British intelligence that thousands of radicals were arriving in Britain.
“I don’t think there are any known camps that you know of or we know of or British intelligence know of that exist,” he said.
“Of course they exist underground — the mafia exists underground in Britain — and wherever we find it we crush it … but I don’t think there is a particular place which we know of that still exists.”
The president also rejected British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s description of the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan as the “crucible for global terrorism”.
“I think sometimes people say things they don’t understand or mean but I think his concern is genuine and I appreciate the concern,” Zardari said.
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