Washington D C [United States]: The incoming administration of president-elect Donald Trump is expected to adopt a tough stance with Pakistan insofar as its links with terrorism are concerned.
According to informed sources, the Trump administration is likely to make it known to Islamabad that it will not accept the latter’s two-faced policy of seeking American financial assistance while simultaneously supporting terror groups like the Lashkar-e-Toiba. The former will make it clear to the latter that this policy would have to end immediately or else it will be declared a state sponsor of terrorism.
Sources close to the incoming Trump administration have revealed that there is a growing realization that the millions of dollars pumped into Pakistan’s coffers in the hope of that country helping the United States in its fight against terror, has been in vain.
They have understood and are aware that both Pakistan’s civilian and military leadership have been providing legitimacy to terrorist groups and their leaders, many of whom are known to have engineered attacks that have killed American citizens and damaged American assets from their safe sanctuaries in Pakistan.
Though Islamabad has attempted to convince the international community of its intentions to act firmly against terrorist hideouts operating from its soil, this faÃ§ade seems to have been exposed, as according to close foreign policy aides of Trump, there seems to be no intention to dislodge these groups, including the Haqqani Group.
When Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Muhammad Yusuf, visited the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) headquarters in Lahore, it hardly raised any eyebrows in Pakistan.
It is well known fact that the JuD is a front of the militant Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), and both are designated as foreign terrorist organisations in the United States. Not only did Yusuf meet JuD leader Hafiz Saeed, a terrorist whose name figures in list of terrorists under the UN Security Council’s 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee, but he also addressed a press conference along with Saeed and other JUD leaders.
The eighth anniversary of the terrorist attacks launched on Mumbai also falls at the end of this month. It may be recalled that between November 26 to 29, 166 people, including 33 foreigners (four of them Americans) lost their lives to bullets fired by ten LeT-backed terrorists at five locations in India’s financial capital, including two luxury hotels, a cafe frequented by foreign tourists, a Jewish Community Centre, a hospital and a railway station. More than 300 others were also injured in the carnage.
American security agencies also found evidence of the LeT trying to broaden its support base in the country.
In 2012, a Pakistani national going by the name of Jubair Ahmad was sentenced to twelve years imprisonment for providing material support to the LeT. He was also known to be in communication with Hafiz Saeed’s son, Talha. It is likely that there are many more like him working silently in different parts of America. In the same year, the U.S. government announced a bounty of 10 million dollars on Hafiz Saeed.
In 2010, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also categorised the Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) as a terrorist group and an alias of the LeT. While the FIF is projected as a humanitarian organisation by many in Pakistan, according to the U.S. State Department, it is closely connected to the banned LeT and is a new name for the JuD.
The steps taken by the United States to neutralize these terrorist threats emanating from Pakistan notwithstanding, it is evident that these agents of terror have not been affected and in fact, continue to thrive and could soon become an important political force in Pakistan.
Terrorists like Hafiz Saeed continue to be free to hold large rallies, make anti-American statements and threaten to place the Islamic flag in Washington.
The onus therefore, is on the Trump administration to ensure that a tough message is sent out to Pakistan to either act firmly against terrorist groups or be declared a state sponsor of terrorism, said sources familiar with president-elect Trump’s thinking on this issue. (ANI)