US State Department’s Annual Country Report on Terrorism has raised the bogey of safe heavens of militant outfits in Pakistan, but also acknowledges sharp decrease in the incidents of terrorist attacks in the country. In a prompt reaction, Foreign Office issued a statement, rejecting therein the report as “self-contradictory” and denial of the proactive role performed by Pakistan in war against global terrorism. The statement draws the attention of US administration to the ground reality that Pakistan, being a sovereign state and responsible member of international community, is fully committed to not to allow its soil to be used against any state.
A cursory look on the contents, tone and tenor of the report reveals it a “ditto copy” of US State Department earlier r congress mandated report on countering global terrorism, released in November last year. It appears to be a frustrated response to the recent spike in terrorists’ attacks on Afghan government forces, Attorney General’s office car and civilians. Daesh Khurasan had claimed the responsibility of gunmen attack on that official car in which five people were killed’ including two prosecutors. US special representative on Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad has demanded investigation of this incident. For most of the terrorist attacks Daesh claims the responsibility, which is believed to have its strong base in the Nangrahar Province of Afghanistan.
Pakistan, China, other countries of the region and Russia have repeatedly expressed great concern on the presence of Daesh inside Afghanistan and rallying of other terrorist groups under its umbrella. When it entered the Afghan war theater, former President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai had questioned the arrival of its fighters by helicopters and sources of arms supply and funding. Likewise, in Russia hosted peace conference in Moscow on November 9, 2018, Russian Foreign Minister Segey Victorovitch Lavrov had highlighted the threat of Daesh Khorasan to regional peace and stability and had made an oblique reference to its sponsors.
After the signing of US-Taliban peace deal in February, Pakistan has cautioned the United States and other world powers against the role of India as spoiler of the agreement to derail the ongoing peace process. It is India that sponsor terrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It merits mention that Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had given a proposal of regional approach for combating terrorism in a meeting in Kabul with Foreign Ministers of Afghanistan and China in December, 2018.
The FATF plenary is scheduled in October, for which Pakistan will submit the progress report on the implementation of 27 points action plan for curbing money laundering and terrorism financing in August. The United States was the prime mover of the resolution in February, 2018 plenary session asking for putting Pakistan on greylist. In the same year in June, FATF put Pakistan on grey list and an action plan was handed down for total compliance. It remains to be seen as to whether State Department Report of militants’ safe heavens in Pakistan impacts the decision in October plenary of the international watchdog on curbing money laundering and terrorism financing.