Pakistan on Tuesday criticised a United States report that said that it had failed to limit terrorist groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad operating in its territory.
The Pakistan Foreign Office claimed that the US Country Report on Terrorism for 2018 “completely overlooks the factual situation on the ground and the tremendous contribution made and sacrifices rendered by Pakistan over the last two decades in the international struggle against terrorism”. It added that these efforts have led to the elimination of the Al Qaeda terrorist group from the region, making the world a safer place.
The report had also said the government and military acted inconsistently to eliminate safe havens for terrorists in the country. “Authorities did not take sufficient action to stop certain terrorist groups and individuals from openly operating in the country,” it said.
However, the Pakistan Foreign Office said: “Pakistan is committed to take concrete actions under its National Action Plan. Pakistan has taken extensive legal and administrative measures for implementation of its obligations under the UNSC 1267 sanctions regime for the freezing of assets and denial of funds and economic resources to all designated entities and individuals. Pakistanis continuing actions to fully implement the FATF Action Plan.”
The Financial Action Task Force, a global anti-terror watchdog, had last year put Pakistan on its “grey list”. Last month, the task force said Pakistan had failed to achieve 22 out of 27 targets it had set in connection with eliminating terrorism and terror financing, and asked it to fulfil these conditions by February 2020, failing which Islamabad could be blacklisted.
On Tuesday, Pakistan said that while the US report acknowledges that Islamabad faces threats from groups like the Taliban, it fails to mention that “these groups continue to operate and conduct terrorist activities against Pakistan from across the border”, meaning Afghanistan. The Foreign Office also said that Pakistan has facilitated direct talks between the US and the Taliban in the context of the Afghan peace process, and its contribution in this regard has been “widely acknowledged”.
The US report had said that Pakistan pledged support for political reconciliation between the Afghan government and the Afghan Taliban, but did not stop the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network from operating in its country, thus threatening US and Afghan forces across the border.
“We have always stressed that counter-terrorism efforts can be effectively advanced through constructive engagement,” the Pakistan Foreign Office said in its statement. “We hope Pakistan’s commitment, contributions and sacrifices would be fully recognized and appreciated in the right perspective.”
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