Under the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump, the United States must be willing to declare Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism, and in doing so, should also consider imposing sweeping and devastating sanctions against Pakistan’s army.
Under the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump, the United States must be willing to declare Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism, and in doing so, should also consider imposing sweeping and devastating sanctions against Pakistan’s army to convince Islamabad to cease giving active support to various militant groups, feels a leading expert on Asian and South Asian affairs.
In an article for the warontherocks.com web site, C. Christine Fair, associate professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, said, “Washington should provide a timeline of concrete steps that Pakistan must take against the various militant groups it now supports to curtail such a designation.” Reflecting on the myriad policy challenges in South Asia for the incoming Trump administration, Fair suggests that for Washington not to go ahead with sanctions and withdrawal of aid, Pakistan, would have to as a first such step, cease active support for these groups and constrict their space for operations and recruitment.
She also suggests in her article that “ultimately, Washington should demand the elimination of the (terror) remnants”, but predicts that Pakistan “would not be willing to undertake such efforts.”
Dwelling on Pakistan, Fair says, “Despite the hullaballoo every time Pakistan gets a new army chief, there will never be any substantive changes in the civil-military relationship in Pakistan. For the foreseeable future, the Pakistan Army (will) call the relevant shots.”
Suggesting that Pakistan uses terrorism under its nuclear umbrella with impunity because it works to achieve its agenda of highlighting the “conflict” with India, and thus provoke calls for dialogue to resolve “outstanding differences,” and thereby further legitimise Pakistan’s territorial demands, Fair says, “The only way to motivate change is by developing a coercive campaign that diminishes the advantages of Pakistan’s use of militant proxies under its nuclear umbrella while also increasing the costs of doing so.”
She says, “The United States has been unwilling to seriously revise its Pakistan policy because of the belief that American assistance and presence staves off state collapse or prevents further nuclear proliferation. Unfortunately, Pakistan has used American assistance to further develop the very assets — nuclear weapons and terrorists — that disquiet Americans the most.”
Fair further states in her article that so far Washington has underestimated the resilience of the Pakistani state and the low likelihood of its collapse should U.S. aid be terminated. “The United States will not likely be able to undertake any meaningful coercive policy if it continues to believe that its resources and those of its allies and multilateral organisations are staving off an otherwise likely collapse of the state,” she warns, adding that the collapse of the Pakistan state is very unlikely despite this fear being commonly articulated by U.S. officials.
“Washington must stop providing Pakistan with incentives to produce “good jihadist assets” while fighting “terrorists of the Pakistani state.” As long as Pakistan has terrorists to kill, Washington will remunerate Pakistan handsomely to do so. Pakistan’s army knows the United States would be less concerned about Pakistan were it not for these militant proxies. Yet Washington has failed to tell Pakistan clearly that it must stop producing new terrorists to pursue its regional goals. The United States should incentivise