I was struck by Gordon Brown’s insistence today that: “Three-quarters of the terrorist plots that hit Britain derive from the mountain areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan and it is to make Britain safe and the rest of the world safe that we must make sure we honour our commitment to maintain a stable Afghanistan.”
I also noticed Labour MP Caroline Flint making the same point on morning TV.
But – I’m not a Foreign Office expert – I thought I’d read somewhere else that three-quarters of terrorist plots in Britain came from Pakistan per se.
Yes, here it is, back in the spring. From Mr Brown himself: “Three quarters of serious plots investigated in the UK were connected to Pakistan.”
In other words, they are not necessarily anywhere near where we are fighting. (Karachi, where I grew up, is 1,104 km from Peshawar in the mountains).
This seems seriously disingeneous.
The duty press officer at the Foreign Office wasn’t able to answer this one yesterday. Nor did Gordon Brown’s spokesman have the exact details of the stats this morning beyond saying that the UK faced a major threat from people on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
“I don’t think we can necessarily pinpoint exactly where each of these plots orginates…the point that we set out in April is that we need to tackle security in that border area.”
Um, where does the statistic come from then?
I’m told by one reporter who visited Pakistan on the PM’s jet earlier this year that the figure was then said to be closer to 60 per cent than 75 per cent, although I have no proof of this.
(By the way, worth pointing out that it only covers recent years – and so excludes Northern Ireland incidents.)
Now I stop to think about it, maybe most of the people on the list are UK citizens who happen to have relatives in Pakistan? If so, what relevance do they have to our battle in the “mountainous areas”? Do we actually know?