AMSTERDAM: Pakistan’s regional machinations no longer serve a strategic purpose for the United States as it used to be in the past for former American administration. Instead, the Trump dispensation now appears to be gearing up for a bigger and multifaceted battle with the ‘Dragon’ further east, said a European think tank.
According to European Foundation for South Asian Studies (EFSAS), the fact that Pakistan, China’s sworn best friend and stooge combined, no longer holds the same charm for the US it once did was made evident in the US State Department report which highlighted the fact that Islamabad had been designated as a “Country of Particular Concern” (CPC) under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, and that it had been re-designated as a CPC in 2019.
The State Department report also drew attention to the disturbing reality that Pakistani “madrassas reportedly continued to teach ‘extremist’ doctrine”, and that “many madrassas failed to register with the government or provide documentation of their sources of funding or to limit their acceptance of foreign students to those with valid visas, a background check and the consent of their governments, as required by law”.
Unsurprisingly, despite acknowledging Pakistan’s role in facilitating the US-Taliban talks, the report did not fail to point out the devious role that Pakistan continued to play in Afghanistan. In addition to Pakistan’s support to Afghanistan focused terrorist groups alluded to above, the report asserted that “Afghanistan continued to face significant challenges in protecting its borders, particularly those with Pakistan and Iran”.
Unfortunately, the Pakistani government, in its “apparent haste to criticise the State Department’s report, ended up neglecting to look closely enough at its own conduct and motivations”, as also the underlying message that the report contained, the think tank said.
Pakistan’s claim of having contributed to the decimation of the Al-Qaeda is ridiculous, given the fact that Prime Minister Imran Khan chose to describe the terror group’s slain leader Osama bin Laden as a “shaheed” or a martyr in the National Assembly, the lower house of the country’s Parliament.
“How any responsible nation can venture that it had helped destroy an organisation whose top leader it itself had sheltered for years is unfathomable. After acts such as harbouring the most wanted terrorist in the world, and its Prime Minister describing this terrorist as a martyr, for Pakistan to turn around and claim that it ‘was fully aware of its responsibilities as a sovereign state’ comes across as well nigh absurd, the think tank questioned
Pakistan’s tall counter-terrorism claims are belied by the fact that the leadership of the Taliban, a United Nations (UN) designated terrorist organisation, has been sheltering in Pakistan for two decades, the think tank highlighted.
Having come into the limelight when it grabbed power in Kabul with the active support of Pakistan, which had created it, the Taliban has been and continues to remain, Pakistan’s “most preferred choice to run the government in Kabul”.
“Having pandered to and nurtured this strategic asset for long, President Donald Trump‘s eagerness to get out of Afghanistan has finally presented Pakistan with the opening that it’s needed to harvest the fruits of this investment,” EFSAS said.
Pakistan’s role in the Afghan peace process was not selflessly aimed at bailing out an old ally. Instead, it purely aimed at serving the country’s regional interest. “It is with similar interests in mind that Pakistan has, and continues to nurture other terrorist organisations, including those targeting India that find mention in the US report,” it further stated.
“What Pakistan has been practising rather openly for quite some time now is not counter-terrorism, barring the exception of groups that target Pakistan, but rather sponsorship of terrorism at the level of the state in pursuit of regional political objectives,” the think tank said.