T V Parasuram in Washington
After having condemned on more than one occasion the December 13 attack on Parliament as an act of terror, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf now says he does not find any "evidence" to that effect.
"The excuse that there was a terrorist attack on Parliament -- of which we have not got any evidence - should not have been taken for this brinkmanship, for this response of moving forces on the border and creating a climate of possible war between the two countries holding nuclear potential. This is brinkmanship at its worst," Musharraf told the National Press Club in Washington on Friday.
Reacting to this, state department spokesman Phil Reeker told reporters that the attack on Parliament was an "act of terrorism" and reinforced the need to fight the menace throughout the world.
"We were all quite clear in our condemnation of the attack against the Indian Parliament. It was an act of terrorism ... and [we] can understand how the Indians felt about that," Reeker said.
National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice also rejected Musharraf's contention that there was no evidence that the attack was carried out by terrorists.
"The problem we encountered with [the attack] on the Indian Parliament was that a democracy, a similar democracy, was attacked in India [and it] showed to everybody that terrorism was a threat, in this case not just to India, but it was also a threat to a stable and secular Pakistan," Rice said when briefing reporters on President George W Bush's schedule in Japan, South Korea and China.
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