The United States of America has issued a warning to Pakistan that if another terror attack is carried out on India, it will prove to be “extremely problematic” and asked Pakistan to take more “concrete and sustained” actions to rein in Islamic terror groups including the Jaish-e-Mohammad and the Lashkar-e-Taiba.
According to the reports, the Trump administration has directed Pakistan to take sustained, verifiable and irreversible action against the perpetrators of terrorism.
Addressing reporters at the White House on Wednesday, a senior administration official said, “We need to see Pakistan taking concrete and sustained action to reign in the terrorist groups, mainly the Jaish-e-Mohammed and the Lashkar-e-Taiba in order to ensure that we don’t have re-escalation (of tension) in the region.”
“And, if there’s any additional terrorist attack without Pakistan having made a sustained, sincere effort against these groups, it would be extremely problematic for Pakistan and it would cause re-escalation of tensions, which is dangerous for both countries,” an official reportedly said.
Responding to a question regarding the action taken by Pakistani establishment after the Balakot air strike by Indian Air Force, the official said that the US and the international community needed to see “irreversible and sustained” actions against the terror groups.
Stating that it was too early to make any full assessment, the official added that Pakistan has taken some “initial” actions in the recent days. They have frozen the assets of some terrorist groups and made some arrests. They have taken administrative control of some of the JeM facilities, the official added.
“But we clearly need to see more. We need to see irreversible action because in the past, what we’ve seen is they made some arrests and then a few months later, they released these individuals. The terrorist leaders are sometimes still allowed to travel around the country, hold rallies,” the official said.
The official further assured that America is working with its international partners to increase pressure on Pakistan. “Because it has been too long that these groups have been able to operate.” Observing that Pakistan has economic concerns as well, the official said the Financial Action Tasks Force (FATF) is one area which demonstrates the need for them to take these actions against terror groups.
“Otherwise, they’re at risk within the system and the FATF to be grey-listed,” the official said. The senior official at the Trump administration further observed that Pakistan needs to decide whether it wants to be viewed as a responsible international player and have access to all the financial mechanisms that are available or is it going to continue to fail to take the steps necessary against these terrorist groups and see itself further isolated.
“The choice is Pakistan’s,” the senior administration official asserted. While the situation between the two South Asian neighbours has de-escalated, the two armies are still on high alert and that concerns the US, the official said.
“So, we realise that if there, God forbid, would be another terrorist attack that you could quickly see the escalation in the situation once again. So that’s why, we’re making clear that any additional military action by either side runs an unacceptably high risk, for both countries and for the region,” the official said.
The Trump Administration, the official said, has taken a sort of a “zero tolerance policy” on the issue of safe havens to terrorists. “The terrorist attack on February 14th on India was a demonstration that Pakistan’s continuing provision of sanctuary for any terrorist group is not acceptable,” the official said.
Further, the United State of America has expressed disappointment over China’s veto over the issue of blocking Jaish chief Masood Azhar. The US views that China has a responsibility to not shield Pakistan and expressed deep disappointment over Beijing’s decision to block a bid in the UN to designate Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a “global terrorist”.
“We think China has a responsibility to also not shield Pakistan, and join the international community in calling on Pakistan to take action against terrorists operating on its soil,” the senior Trump administration official said on Wednesday.
After the Pulwama attack, the US, France and Britain moved a resolution in the UN Sanctions Committee of the Security Council to designate Azhar as a “global terrorist”. The Trump administration is also working at the United Nations, urging Pakistan to uphold its responsibilities pursuant to its UN Security Council commitments to deny safe haven and support to terrorists and to freeze the funds and financial assets of entities on the UN Security Council 1267 sanctions list