Thursday February 02, 2023

Pakistan failed to counter terrorists: US legislators

July 14, 2016

Some sub-committee members seek sanctions against Islamabad; Pak embassy says President Obama has affirmed Pak role as a key counter-terrorism partner and recognised its sacrifices

WASHINGTON: A handful of US lawmakers have sought additional measures against Pakistan alleging that the country has failed to take action against terrorist groups.

“Patience is growing very thin,” Congressman Matt Salmon, Chairman of the Asia and Pacific Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said here on Wednesday.The committee members suggested that cutting down financial aid will not be enough and strict sanctions should be imposed on Pakistan.

“Those who suggest giving aid to Pakistan need to give justification for using the tax payers’ money,” Congressman Brad Sherman, ranking member of the subcommittee, said.Ranking member of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Non-Proliferation and Trade, Congressman William Keating, alleged that Pakistan used terrorism as a tool for its strategic needs and there was no reason to believe that it would change its policies.

Two of the top al-Qaeda leaders have been killed in Pakistan, Keating said, adding that the arms supply to Pakistan would be used against India.The subcommittee held a hearing on the Pakistan-US relations and had invited former diplomats and experts.

“Pakistan now is a state sponsor of terrorism. There is no question that it supports the Haqqani Network, which we regard as a terrorist network,” said Zalmay Khalilzad, a former top American diplomat of the Bush Administration, during the hearing.

“It is also clear that it provides sanctuary and support to the Taliban,” he said while asking the administration to change its policy towards Pakistan.“We also need to suspend all military and non-education assistance,” he said in his testimony during the hearing titled ‘Pakistan: Friend or Foe in the Fight Against Terrorism?’

Other panelists Bill Rogio, a magazine editor, and Tricia Bacon, Assistant Professor, American University, criticised some Pakistani institutions.When contacted, the Pakistan Embassy in Washington gave the following version:

“Pakistan and the United States are long time partners and allies in their shared goal of defeating terrorism.“Positive CT (counterterrorism) cooperation between the two countries has been widely acknowledged by the leadership of the two countries. In the October 2015 Joint Statement of President Obama and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, President Obama affirmed Pakistan’s role as a key counterterrorism partner and recognised the sacrifices that Pakistani civilians, military, and law enforcement personnel have made over the years as they confront terrorism and militant groups. Both leaders also renewed their common resolve to promote peace and stability throughout the region and to counter all forms of extremism and terrorism.

“Chairman Armed Services Committee, Senator John McCain, after a recent visit to Pakistan and seeing firsthand the results of military operations in North Waziristan, said ‘he was impressed by the progress on ground’.

“We need not remind the skeptics that no country has suffered more from terrorism than Pakistan. Pakistan’s resolve to fight back the menace of terrorism is, therefore, second to none. The extraordinary success of operation Zarb-e-Azb is a testimony to Pakistan’s unwavering commitment to eliminate terrorism from the Pakistani soil.”