In a setback to Pakistan, the United States has listed the Islamic country among states providing "safe havens" to terrorists.
In a setback to Pakistan, the United States has listed the Islamic country among states providing “safe havens” to terrorists. This comes even as Pakistan has been claiming itself as a victim of terror, not the one providing a breeding ground for terrorists. The US Congress-mandated ‘Country Report on Terrorism’ has said Pakistan is a terror safe haven, a claim India has been making for long. The US report comes on the back of Trump administration declaring top Hizbul Mujahideen leader Syed Salahuddin, who is based in Pakistan, a US-designated global terrorist. The report notes how Pakistan has taken selective action against terror groups operating from its territory against India.
Here are the key takeaways of the Country Report on Terrorism 2016:
- India continued to experience attacks, including by Maoist insurgents and Pakistan-based terrorists. Indian authorities continued to blame Pakistan for cross-border attacks in Jammu and Kashmir. In January, India experienced a terrorist attack against an Indian military facility in Pathankot, Punjab, which was blamed by authorities on JeM.
- Terrorist-related violence in Pakistan declined for the second straight year in 2016. The Pakistani military and security forces undertook operations against groups that conducted attacks within Pakistan such as Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan.
- However, Pakistan did not take substantial action against the Afghan Taliban or HQN, or substantially limit their ability to threaten U.S. interests in Afghanistan, although Pakistan supported efforts to bring both groups into an Afghan-led peace process.
- Pakistan did not take sufficient action against other externally focused groups, such as Lashkar e-Tayyiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) in 2016, which continued to operate, train, organize, and fundraise in Pakistan.
- Major terrorist groups focused on conducting terrorist attacks in Pakistan included the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Jamaat‑ul‑Ahrar (JuA), and the sectarian group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ).
- Islamic State’s Khorasan Province (ISIS-K) claimed several major attacks against Pakistani targets, likely conducted in collaboration with other terrorist groups.
- Groups located in Pakistan, but focused on conducting attacks outside the country, included the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani Network (HQN), Lashkar e-Tayyiba (LeT), and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM).
- Pakistan has not joined the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, although it designated ISIS as a terrorist organization in 2015. Police and security forces detained and killed a substantial number of ISIS-affiliated terrorists.
- Mumbai attak: The trial of seven suspects in the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack remained stalled, with many witnesses for the prosecution remaining to be called by the court. The lead defendant, alleged LeT operational commander Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi, remained free on bail.
- On December 5, a military court sentenced Naeem Bukhari to death for “heinous offenses related to terrorism.” Bukhari was allegedly involved in the 2002 murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl in Karachi, apart from several other other terrorist acts. However, officials told the media the criminal charges leading to the sentence did not include the Daniel Pearl killing.