NEW DELHI: US’s Department of State in its latest annual ‘Country Report on Terrorism 2018’ (CRT), has accused Pakistan that on the one hand, it voices support for political reconciliation in Afghanistan, but on the contrary, Pakistani establishment did not restrict the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network (HQN) from operating in Pakistan-based safe havens, and threatened the US and Afghan forces in Afghanistan.
The report further took note of India’s long stand on terrorist groups like Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), which are located in Pakistan, and often conduct terrorist attacks on India, with the support of Pak agencies. The report claimed that the Pak government has failed to significantly limit these terrorist groups from raising money, recruiting, and training in Pakistan but also allowed their candidates overtly to contest the July 2018 general elections.
The US Report also found that Pakistan does not mend its ways; even though FATF in June 2019 placed it on its “grey list” for deficiencies and failure to implement UN sanctions related to designated entities, specifically citing concerns over Pakistan’s failure to fully implement the UN Security Council ISIL (Da’esh) and al-Qa’ida sanctions regime. It stated that FATF had noted that UN-listed entities, including LeT and its affiliates, were not effectively prohibited from raising funds in Pakistan, or being denied financial services. These designated entities and individuals such as LeT and its affiliates, continued to make use of economic resources and raise funds.
The report further pulled-up Pakistan on its undeterrent resolve in letting the unlicensed hundi and hawala (money transfer) systems to operate throughout the country and were openly abused by terrorist financiers operating in the cross-border area.
The US report also raised concerns on treatment to religious minorities like Ahmedias in Pakistan who faced significant threats from terrorist groups. Recently, a 70-year old mosque of Ahmadi minority was demolished (Oct 25, 2019) by authorities in Punjab province. Also a survey by All Pakistan Hindu Rights Movement revealed that out of 428 Hindu temples at the time of partition are left with only 20 today.
The report also questioned Pak government’s decision allowing military courts to try civilians on terrorism charges for two additional years, when these are criticized for not being transparent and are being used to silence civil society activists. The military courts, without transparency, have sentenced at least 104 convicted terrorists to death in 2018, up from at least 15 in 2017. These courts got renewed after a constitutional amendment in 2017.
In the end of the annual US Country Report on Terrorism 2018, it illustrated the inefficiency of Pakistani government, while stressing that some madrassahs in the country still taught “extremist” doctrine and umpteen of them are yet to register with the government or to provide documentation of their sources of funding, or to limit their acceptance to foreign students with valid visas, a background check, and the consent of their governments, as required by law.
Though, Pakistan Foreign Office denied these assertions of the US report on November 05, 2019, but truth prevailed over their false propaganda of doing enough in its counter-terrorism efforts.
Pakistan received another blow, when the US Congress’ latest report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) that also coincidently released on November 01, 2019, recognised Pakistan as the most important neighbour of Afghanistan playing an active but by many accounts, a negative role in Afghan affairs for decades. It noted that “Pakistan’s security establishment, which is fearful of a strategic encirclement by India, apparently continues to view the Afghan Taliban as a relatively friendly and reliable anti-India element in Afghanistan.”
The CRS report stated that “Haqqani Network attribute much of the insurgency’s power and longevity either directly or indirectly to Pak’s support”. The same has been accuse d by the US President Donald Trump in his August 2017 speech while indicting Pakistan for ‘housing very terrorists that the US are fighting and can no longer remain silent about latter’s safe-havens for terrorist organisation, Taliban and other groups, posing threat to the region and beyond.’ Following this, the US administration in January 2018 suspended security assistance to Pakistan worth billions of dollars in aid.
Pakistan’s continued request for release of security assistance and its facilitation of the US talks with the Taliban, received another major embarrassment when US State Department in April 2019 stated that “the US Administration has not seen Pakistan taking sustained, irreversible actions that would warrant lifting the [security aid] suspension”.
Meanwhile, the CRS report praised Indian nd pointed out that “India’s diplomatic and commercial presence in Afghanistan and US rhetorical support for it exacerbates Pakistani fears of encirclement. Indian interest in Afghanistan stems largely from India’s broader regional rivalry with Pakistan, which impedes Indian efforts to establish stronger and more direct commercial and political relations with central Asia.”