Hindu Vivek Kendra
A RESOURCE CENTER FOR THE PROMOTION OF HINDUTVA
   
 
 
«« Back
 

US gives last chance for Pakistan after calling out ISI for terrorism

Author: Chidanand Rajghatta, TNN
Publication: The Times of India
Date: October 4, 2017
URL:   https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/us-gives-last-chance-for-pakistan-after-calling-out-isi-for-terrorism/articleshow/60943903.cms

Introduction: Washington Also Backs New Delhi On Oppn To CPEC

Pakistan has a last chance to give up using terrorism to further its goals before the United States initiates action against it, a top Trump administration official warned on Tuesday after a senior American general publicly blew the whistle on Pakistani intelligence agency ISI's ties with terrorist groups.

"We need to try one more time to make this strategy work with them, by, with and through the Pakistanis, and if our best efforts fail, the president is prepared to take whatever steps are necessary,'' Trump's Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said at a House Armed Services Committee hearing. The warning came hours ahead of Pakistan's foreign minister Khwaja Asif's meetings in Washington with his US counterpart Rex Tillerson, ostensibly to rebuild ties with the US

Asif and his Pakistani team have tried to brazen it out in the US in meetings over the last several days, arguing that Pakistan has been successful in its counter-terrorism efforts and it is the India-Afghanistan alliance that is causing trouble in Pakistan.

But US officials and generals under President Trump bluntly and publicly called out Pakistan's bluff, forsaking the kid gloves and euphemisms that characterized the issue during previous administrations.

"It is clear to me that the ISI has connections with terrorist groups,'' Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee, in the most direct indictment heard in recent years.

Since Pakistan had argued vigorously that the ISI is an arm of the Pakistan military and is fully within its control, and does not have a separate agenda or decide foreign policy goals, Islamabad is now squarely in the U.S crosshairs as a state sponsor of terrorism. The Trump administration is said to be considered a range of options to bring a country that has been designated a state sponsor of terrorism in all but name to heel, starting with curtailing military and civilian aid, and putting a financial squeeze.

A formal designation as a terrorism sponsor is said to be among the more severe options if Pakistan does not mend.

Asked by a lawmaker whether revoking Pakistan's major non-NATO ally status was amongst the options being considered to deal with Islamabad, Mattis said, "I am sure it will be."

Pakistan's only leverage with US is the land supply route to Afghanistan and threats of bolting to the Chinese camp. But Washington has already called the China card bluff ("Go ahead," one official was reported telling the Pakistanis) and seen Beijing has very little to offer to Islamabad other than economic exploitation through its ''one-belt one-road'' promises.

In fact, the Trump administration handed another setback to Pakistan by throwing its weight behind India's opposition to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), saying it passes through a "disputed territory" and no country should "put itself into a position of dictating" the Belt and Road initiative.

"In a globalised world, there are many belts and many roads, and no one nation should put itself into a position of dictating 'one belt, one road'," Mattis said at the hearing.

"That said, the One Belt One Road also goes through disputed territory, and I think, that in itself shows the vulnerability of trying to establish that sort of a dictate," he added, in an apparent reference to India's stand on the issue.

India skipped the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) in May this year due to its sovereignty concerns since the project passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

Pakistan has been trying to hector the current administration, as it has done with previous US dispensations, but thus far at least, Trump's mandarins and generals have not blinked.

Tuesday's public calling out of ISI's terrorist ties was the harshest indictment of Pakistan in years.

"US says ISI has terror links soon to say ISI is a terrorist org. It is a matter of time. Encouraging & enlightening,'' exulted Amrullah Saleh, a former Afghan intelligence chief who has long called out Pakistan's nurturing of terror groups.

Islamabad tried to turn the tables on Afghanistan and India by alleging they were backing the TTP's terror attacks in Pakistan, but the charges were laughed out of the international forum, where experts are all too familiar with Pakistan's hosting of UN and US-designated terrorists such as Hafiz Saeed, Masood Azhar, and Dawood Ibrahim, not to speak of sheltering the likes of Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar.

Instead, Indian and Afghan efforts to expose Pakistan's long-standing and well-chronicled use of terrorism finally bore fruit this year when President Trump himself publicly castigated Islamabad and cautioned that he would stop economic and military assistance, while inviting India to lay a greater role in Afghanistan.

But rather than heed the warning, Pakistan ramped up its histrionics, canceled the scheduled visit of two senior American officials to Islamabad, and demanded a high-level engagement with the US to discuss the matter.

All it got in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session - where there were the usual vituperative exchanges with India - was a meeting for its neophyte prime minister Abbasi with vice-president Mike Pence.

Since then, Pakistan's foreign minister K.M.Asif has been canvassing support for Pakistan's case in the U.S. -- with little success.

Asif, who once ridiculed the Pakistan Army of losing every war against India despite looting Pakistan through the defense budget, has lately tried to ingratiate himself to the military, whose commanders met for seven hours on Tuesday to discuss security matters ahead of his meeting with U.S officials.

Pakistani officials are full of bravado in public but are known to be extremely vulnerable to pressure considering many of them have family and assets outside Pakistan, including in US and UK In an episode recounted frequently in the Pakistani media, a US prosecutor is said to have once ridiculed Pakistanis for ''selling their mothers for a few thousand dollars.''

Already, Washington appears to have put the financial squeeze on Pakistan, shutting down the operations in the US of Habib Bank, one of Pakistan's biggest. US is also said to be conferring with U.K on the matter.

In fact, both Mattis and Dunford indicated that this time the U.S policy will not be unilateral, but will be aligned with NATO allies.

Pakistan will have many advantages if it aligns with the U.S and its allies, Mattis warned, adding that the ''penalties are just as significant as advantages if they choose to go against.''
 
«« Back
 
 
 
  Search Articles
 
  Special Annoucements