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India, US seek ‘irreversible’, ‘credible’ actions from Pakistan on terror

The United States and India have separately called upon Pakistan to ensure its post-Pulwama crackdown on terrorists was “sustained, irreversible” and not “cosmetic” as in the past.

india Updated: Mar 08, 2019 20:06 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times
US india,pakistan,pulwama terror attack
U.S. President Donald Trump at a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.(REUTERS)

The United States and India have separately called upon Pakistan to ensure its post-Pulwama crackdown on terrorists was “sustained, irreversible” and not “cosmetic” as in the past when apprehended individuals and shut down facilities returned to normal when the glare of global scrutiny shifted away.

“The United States notes these steps,” said Robert Palladino, the US state department spokesperson Thursday, about the ongoing crackdown in Pakistan, “and we continue to urge Pakistan to take sustained, irreversible action against terrorist groups that will prevent future attacks and that will promote regional stability.”

He added: “And we reiterate our call for Pakistan to abide by its United Nations Security Council obligations to deny terrorists safe haven and block their entry to funds”

Separately, an Indian official told reporters at a background briefing Pakistan has staged such crackdowns — “professed actions” — before. Referring to Pakistan’s actions after the Mumbai 2008 attack, the official said most of the apprehensions either took place only on “paper” or those taken into custody were kept at “VIP guesthouses” and in “luxurious accommodations”. It was as if, the government was telling them “you are our people, but you need to lie low for the time being”.

“Whether thee actions are cosmetic or credible is yet to be seen,” the official said of the current actions, adding that India would be looking for “credible and verifiable actions”.

Hafiz Saeed, the founder and leader of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeY) and the mastermind of the Mumbai attacks that claimed 166 lives, for instance, who was arrested and released in 2017, had been kept under “house arrest”. at home.

Pakistan has said it has arrested 121 individuals — not calling them terrorists — and seized control of over 400 facilities and assets owned or run by proscribed organizations, including Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), which claimed responsibility for the Pulwama attack, LeT and their fronts.

Those arrested so far include JeM head Masood Azhar’s brother Abdul Rauf Asghar and son Hammad Azhar.

But not Azhar himself, who the Pakistani government has claimed is ailing, “so much so he cannot leave his house”.

A move is afoot at the UN security council to designate him a terrorist, which Pakistan has resisted for years, with China, its “all-weather friend”, blocking three previous attempts. A decision is likely on March 13 to a proposal moved jointly by France, the United States and the United Kingdom.

As India seeks to mount pressure on Pakistan to give up the use of terrorism as an instrument of state policy, it is also “moving towards” urging the world community to consider declaring Pakistan a state-sponsor of terrorism, the Indian official said. The United States, for instance, has Iran, North Korea, Syria and Sudan on its list of countries it has designated as state-sponsors of terrorism.

It nearly added Pakistan to that list in the 1990s. It has also been a recurring demand of many American lawmakers, from both parties, who have been frustrated by the “duplicity” demonstrated by a one-time ally in its actions to combat terrorism.

But India has itself hesitated to brand Pakistan as one arguing such a designation will come in the way of normalization of ties. It would be forced to break ties with Pakistan, which would “become an enemy state”.

First Published: Mar 08, 2019 20:05 IST