The United States has still not seen decisive action by Pakistan against terrorists operating from its soil a year after President Donald Trump’s new South Asia policy was launched, a top official said, insisting that the future of ties was in the hands of Pakistani leaders, Hindustantimes.com reported.
Hafiz Saeed, the Lashkar-e-Taiba mastermind of the Mumbai terrorist attacks, was released by Pakistan from house arrest in November and regularly addresses rallies and public meetings “with impunity”, Ensher noted and added that he (Saeed) was accompanied at one of this public event in one instance “by a minister of the new government”.
It’s clear that the newly elected Imran Khan government may have earned itself a reset of bilateral ties that had been in a downward spiral, but US expectations from Pakistan remain unchanged and the Trump administration will continue to press Pakistan to align itself with the South Asia strategy.
The United States and Pakistan have agreed to take another shot at putting their ties back on the track during recent high-level meetings between the secretary of state Mike Pompeo with Prime Minister Imran Khan and the Pakistani army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa in Islamabad and then with foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi here in Washington earlier this month.
The senior US diplomat’s 30-minute speech was conciliatory and encouraging in tone, urging Pakistan to live up to its potential for one. But it was unwavering in its message: Pakistan’s contribution to the Afghanistan peace process and its counter-terrorism actions will be central to relations with the United States.
And, the onus for turning around the ties was on Pakistan — the “future course of our relationship, and indeed the trajectory of Pakistan’s development rests in the hands of Pakistani leaders”.
Pakistan’s policy on terrorism, Ensher said, was key to its ties with India as well. The United States encourages the two countries to talk to improve ties, he said, but “the presence of terrorists and militants on Pakistani soil limits the potential for and the likely outcomes of any dialogue and we encourage Pakistan to address these issues”.
In January, he said, Pakistan had pledged to act against Lashkar-e-Taiba fronts Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and Falah-e-Insaiyat (FIF). But “10 months later, there is no evidence the government has taken over JuD and FIF operations or taken other measures to prevent those groups from operating”, he said.
The senior diplomat also reminded Pakistan of its commitments to the Financial Action Task Force, a super-secretive world watchdog that monitors and curbs terrorist financing and money-laundering, in June, following its inclusion in a list of countries on the body’s radar.
“We expect Pakistan will uphold its commitment”, to the body, Ensher said.
The United States had taken the lead on adding Pakistan to the body’s watch list — called the grey-list — and had rammed it through despite and overcoming opposition from countries like China and Turkey.