The United States on Friday urged Pakistan to de-legitimise all terrorist groups “operating on its soil”, PTI reported. State Department deputy spokesperson Mark Toner said Pakistan had “suffered greatly at the hands of terrorists and violent extremists”. He further said that while Washington wanted to help Islamabad tackle terrorism, it also wanted the country to “go after those terrorists who seek and sometimes find safe haven on Pakistani territory”.
The remarks by the US official come even as India presses on with efforts to diplomatically isolate Pakistan following the September 18 Uri attack in Jammu and Kashmir that killed 19 Indian Army soldiers. On Wednesday, Senior Director for the National Security Council at the White House Peter Lavoy empathised with India’s need to respond to the attack, and said that every country had the right to defend itself. He was speaking about the surgical strikes the Indian Army said it had carried out along the Line of Control on September 29.
Ties between India and Pakistan have worsened after the Uri attack, with New Delhi backing out of November’s Saarc summit in Islamabad citing the increase of cross-border militancy as the reason. The Pakistan government had postponed the summit on September 30 after Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Sri Lanka also pulled out of the meet. On October 2, Nepal – the chair of the bloc – said the environment was “not conducive” to host the association’s 19th summit in Islamabad.
The fallout of the militant attacks and surgical strikes have also led to a reported rift between the civilian government and the military establishment in Pakistan. The Nawaz Sharif government had imposed a travel ban on Dawn journalist Cyril Almeida after he wrote a story on an “extraordinary verbal confrontation” between the two sides. The article in question said the civilian government had warned the military that Pakistan risked being isolated internationally unless it cracked down on militancy. The travel ban was lifted on Friday following a global outcry.