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March 9, 2019

US hails Pak crackdown on terror groups

Top Story

March 9, 2019

WASHINGTON: The United States on Thursday acknowledged Pakistan’s crackdown on terror groups and urged Islamabad to make these steps sustained and irreversible.

"We note Pakistan’s steps against terrorist groups and continue to urge Pakistan to take sustained, irreversible action against terrorist groups that will prevent future attacks and promote regional stability," the State Department's deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino said during a media briefing here.

Pakistan on Tuesday moved against a number of terror groups and took a total of 44 members of proscribed groups into preventive detention. Among them were Abdul Rauf, Azhar’s brother and Hammad Azhar, the JeM chief's son.

The spokesperson said the US views about Jaish-e-Mohammad were well-known. He said the group was a United Nations’ designated terrorist organization responsible for terrorist attacks and was a threat to regional stability.

"Masood Azhar is the founder and leader of JeM," Palladino said, adding that the UN Sanctions Committee deliberations were confidential. "We will continue to work with the Sanctions Committee," he said without giving out any further details.

The department reiterates its call for Pakistan to abide by its United Nations Security Council commitments to deny terrorists sanctuary and block their access to funds, he added. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Dr Asad Khan met former presidential candidate and Republican Senator Mitt Romney on the Capitol Hill on Thursday.

Senator Romney has recently assumed the Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on South Asia. He also serves on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee as well as the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship committees.

According to the press release issued by the embassy, the ambassador briefed Senator Romney on the regional situation in the backdrop of recent tensions between Pakistan and India.

Khan noted that the restraint and maturity shown by Pakistan’s leadership, highlighted by Prime Minister Imran Khan's decision to release the pilot of a downed Indian aircraft, had been critical to de-escalating the situation between Pakistan and India. He also appreciated the role played by the Trump administration in this regard.

The ambassador cautioned that lasting peace and stability in South Asia would remain elusive as long as India continues to deny the people of Held Kashmir their legitimate right to self-determination. He reiterated Pakistan's desire to resolve the core regional dispute through dialogue.

Khan said Pakistan wanted to work with the United States to bring peace to Afghanistan. As a victim of blowback from nearly 40 years of instability and violence in Afghanistan, Pakistan had long held that there was no military solution to the conflict.

Pakistan was, therefore, committed to facilitating the Afghan peace process, which was ultimately the shared responsibility of all stakeholders in the region's stability. Sen. Romney thanked the ambassador for his briefing and agreed that sustained engagement between Pakistan and the United States remained critical to regional stability.

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