The lack of political will in Pakistani leadership to rein in terrorism on its soil would eventually lead to the country being declared as a terrorist state
The pressure on Pakistan to put a cap on proliferation of terror from its soil is rising by the day. International isolation of the country is mounting to an extent that harsh words are no longer being hidden under the sheen of diplomacy, they are being spoken loud and clear. Its links with the global terror machinery stand totally exposed.
Yet another indictment has come in the form of the US Country Report on Terrorism (CRT) 2016. The report that covers the period of January 01, 2016 to December 31, 2016 has retained Pakistan’s name in its list of nations
providing “safe heavens” to terrorists.
It is notable that the CRT is a US Congress mandated assessment of trends and events in international terrorism which is submitted by the US Secretary of State to the Congress. Among other aspects, the report provides breakdowns of counter-terrorism cooperation by governments across the world, information on state sponsors of terrorism and lists of countries that
provide safe havens to terrorists.
Pakistan was named in the CRT report of 2015 too; over the year under review the country has made a weak attempt to get rid of this ignominious tag. It
purportedly gave more teeth to National Counter Terrorism Authority (NCTA) which took out a list of banned terrorist organisation; it also made a big show of conducting counter terrorist operations to eradicate terrorist safe havens in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and other parts of the country and put in place a National Action Plan that mandates the government to “ensure that no armed militias are allowed to function in the country.”
The progress made under all aforementioned initiatives, however, is defined by security experts as “uneven” at best.
The report has exhibited particular sensitivity to India’s concern with respect to export of terror into the nation from Pakistan. The terror attacks at Pathankot, Uri and Jammu; procrastination in
bringing the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attack to book have weigh heavily against Pakistan.
The CRT gives a clear indication that the US is not happy with the double game of “good terrorist, bad terrorist” that Pakistan is playing. The report has noted that though Pakistan has banned LeT, the offshoots of the organisation like the JuD and the Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation are openly engaged in fund raising and other activities, while the chief of LeT, Hafiz Saeed, continues to address large
gatherings despite being a United Nations designated terrorist. It is notable here that the Pakistan fell short of putting JuD in its banned organisations list prepared by the NCTA and gave is a watered down “under observation” status.
Before the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump in the White house, the US had declared Syed Sallahuddin as an international terrorist. It is now just a matter of time before the US aids India in getting Maulana Masood Azhar, the chief of JeM also declared an international
terrorist, despite attempts by China to stall the same.
The Trump Administration has also stopped grant of 350 USD Coalition Support Fund to Pakistan since the US Defence Secretary has been unable to
certify sufficient action having been taken by Pakistan against the Haqqani terror network and the Afghan Taliban. This is one of the many other areas of financial support to Pakistan where the US is mulling reduction.
The foregoing makes it quite evident that the present US administration is standing firmly with India in bringing Pakistan to book for its terrorist activities directed towards India.
The writing on the wall is that Indo-US collaboration in the fight against terror will not only continue but will be strengthened in the future. India and the US will now identify new areas of collaboration through the July US-India Counter-terrorism Joint Working Group.
Pakistan’s involvement in providing safe havens to terrorists and terrorist organisation directed towards India is now an established fact. Security experts look at the development as one in the right and positive direction.
Some intellectuals in Pakistan, however, have called upon the government to look into the cause behind the global perception that is giving Pakistan such a bad name and address the same.
Pakistan would be well advised to address international concerns practically instead of resorting to mere rhetoric that would not pay dividends.
The simple course of action for the country to follow is to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure and bring the perpetrators of terror to justice. Such an act will bring internal stability to the country and open doors for development and progress. Inability of the Pakistani leadership to generate the political will to rein in the breeding of terrorists and terrorism on its soil would eventually lead to declaration of the country as a terrorist state.
(The writer is a geo-strategist and