Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar on Friday criticised Pakistan for portraying itself as a victim of terrorism and said that international pressure had compelled the country to “grudgingly” acknowledge the presence of terrorists within its territory.
Jaishankar, however, did not name Pakistan during his virtual address at The Energy and Resources Institute. “19 years from the tragedy of ‘9/11’ and 12 years from our own ‘26/11’, we have a range of mechanisms in place to contend with terrorism,” Jaishankar said. “But we still lack a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism. All the while, States that have turned the production of terrorists into a primary export have attempted, by dint of bland denials, to paint themselves as victims of terror.”
The foreign minister described the 9/11 terror attacks in New York and the coronavirus crisis as “moments that disrupted the trajectory of human society”. “We have long known intellectually that terrorism is a cancer that potentially affects everyone, just as pandemics potentially impact upon all humanity,” he said. “And yet, in both cases, globalized focused responses to either challenge have tended to emerge only when there has been sufficient disruption created by a ‘spectacular’ event.”
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Jaishankar added that the fight against terrorism was a continuing process. “The struggle against terror and those who aid and abet it is a work in progress,” he said. “It remains for the international system to create the necessary mechanisms to shut down the structures that support and enable terrorism, whether in South Asia or across the globe.”
“But as we have seen last week, sustained pressure through international mechanisms to prevent the movement of funds for terror groups and their front agencies can work,” he added. “It has eventually compelled a state complicit in aiding, abetting, training and directing terror groups and associated criminal syndicates to grudgingly acknowledge the presence of wanted terrorists and organized crime leaders on its territory.”
Jaishankar was referring to Pakistan’s denial of any acknowledgment on its part of the presence of fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim in the country. Pakistan’s foreign ministry had also denied reports that it had imposed new sanctions on a list of its own terrorists, which was published on August 18.
Last month, global terror-financing watchdog Financial Action Task Force had decided to keep Pakistan in the “grey list” for failing to check the flow of funds to terror groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed. Pakistan was put on FATF’s “grey list” in 2018 and given a 27-point Action Plan to implement in order to be taken off of it.
In October 2019, the watchdog indicted Pakistan for failing to deliver on 22 out of 27 targets. The task force also warned Pakistan that it would be blacklisted if it failed to achieve the targets by February 2020.
India, which is a member of the global organisation, has repeatedly asked Pakistan to take necessary steps to meet international standards in stopping financial crimes.