In what should come as a harsh counter to Pakistan’s misplaced accusations of India abetting terror and unrest in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province, David H Petraeus, the former Director General of the CIA, said on Wednesday that he had never once heard of the term “Indian State-sponsored terrorism” in his career.
“As director of the CIA, and commander of ISAF in Afghanistan, I never once heard the term ‘Indian State-sponsored terrorism’,” The Indian Express quoted the ex-CIA chief as saying. He was responding to a question directed to Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, with whom he was sharing the stage at the Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi.
The remarks come as a stiff riposte to Pakistan’s sustained campaign to malign India’s image as a measure to guard its own skin in the face of global condemnation for its own policy of sheltering and harbouring terrorists. Contrary to the facts that India has placed before the global community, building international pressure to somehow get Pakistan to get its act together, Pakistan has sought to sully India’s image through insinuations of India’s role in abetting terror in its own backyard.
While the CIA Director General rejected any notion of Indian state-sponsored terrorism, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said he was there to talk about facts and not “fantasy scenarios”. Jaishankar said, “When I was asked to speak here, I was asked to stick to facts and not fantasy scenarios.”
Pakistan has lately been under fire from US President Donald Trump for handing the US “lies and deceit” in return for $33 billion that it has received from the US so far. In the aftermath of Trump’s public condemnation, the US cancelled around $2 billion in military aid to Pakistan.
There are also indications that the US may be looking to further pressure Pakistan to act against terror groups operating from its soil. Responding to Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s statement that there was no evidence against Jamaat-Ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, the US said it wanted Pakistan to act against him to the “fullest extent of law”.
State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said the US believes that Saeed should be prosecuted and they have told Pakistan as much. “We believe that he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. He is listed by the UNSC 1267, the Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee for targeted sanctions due to his affiliation with Lashkar-e-Taiba, which is a designated foreign terror organisation,” Nauert told reporters Thursday.
Responding to a question, Nauert said the US has “certainly seen” the reports about Abbasi’s comment on Saeed. “We regard him as a terrorist, a part of a foreign terrorist organisation. He was the mastermind, we believe, of the 2008 Mumbai attacks which killed many people, including Americans as well,” she said.