London, July 17: Islamabad is pretty fed up that in the current blame game in the British media’s coverage of the London bombings, it is now all “Pakistan, Pakistan, Pakistan, Pakistan'”.
Three of the bombers are British born of Pakistani origin, visited Pakistan within the last year and at least one appears to have spent time at a madarsa.
A fairly typical article in today’s Sunday Telegraph is headlined, ‘Our safety is in the hands of Pakistan’, and goes on to say: “All roads in the war on terror leads to the madarsas. Tony Blair must now insist on robust support from General Musharraf.”
Unlike President George W. Bush, who made Musharraf an offer he couldn’t refuse, the Prime Minister’s influence over the Pakistani leader is rather more limited.
Today, in an interview with the BBC, Pakistan’s ambassador to the UN, Munir Akram, made it clear that Hasib Hussain, 18, Shehzad Tanweer, 22, and Mohammed Siddique (sometimes spelt Sadique) Khan, 30, were British. If they had done wrong, it was because of the way Britain behaved with Muslims at home and abroad.
“It is important not to pin blame on somebody else when the problem lies internally. I think you have to look at British society, what you are doing to the Muslim community and why is it that the Muslim community is not integrating into British society,” Akram said.
There were extremist preachers “spouting hatred for everyone” in Britain as well as Pakistan, the ambassador said. He emphasised that the bombers were “British born, British bred” and they were “British lads”. To stress only their ethnicity might be interpreted by some as racist.
He did not deny they had visited Pakistan or the madarsa connection but insisted that brainwashing could not be done so quickly.
“I accept that Pakistan has to do a lot and we are doing it,” he added. “You have to acknowledge what we are doing. It is not sufficient for you to just point out that so and so is a radical in Pakistan. You have them too and we have to address the problems, the underlying causes.”
People should look at British policies in West Asia and the Islamic world, he said. “That is the problem with your society and the inability to integrate the Muslim community into your society.”