An influential US lawmaker today urged the Trump administration to make a final determination on whether Pakistan is a state sponsor of terrorism, asserting that its army and the ISI have been supporting terror groups. Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism Ted Poe, who last week introduced the Pakistan State Sponsor of Terrorism Act (HR 1449) in the House of Representatives, said the White House needs to have a final determination on it now.
“All I am asking for in this legislation is a review of Pakistan. Let’s get all the evidence before the government of the US and let the US Government make that determination (if Pakistan is a State Sponsor of terrorism),” Poe told reporters during a conference call this morning.
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A former judge himself, the influential lawmaker from Texas said it is very important to look at the evidence.
“The evidence that I have seen, just some of the evidence that I have presented to you calls for a review of Pakistan’s position on issue of terrorism. Are they state sponsor of terrorism or they are not? This is what this legislation does,” Poe said in response to a question.
Th lawmaker referred to the presence of al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden inside Pakistan, the statements by several top US officials including Admiral Mike Mullen, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to support his point.
“This is what the legislation does, to make it clear one way or the other. I hope that we get the White House, the President and the State Department and let the world know that status of terrorism and their working with the Pakistani Government or now,” Poe said.
The resolution requires the President to issue a report within 90 days detailing whether Pakistan has provided support for international terrorism.
Thirty days after that, the Secretary of State is required to a submit a follow-up report containing either a determination that Pakistan is a state sponsor of terrorism or a detailed justification as to why it does not meet the legal criteria for such a designation.
“From harbouring Osama bin Laden to its cozy relationship with the Haqqani network, there is more than enough evidence to determine whose side Pakistan is on in the War on Terror. And it’s not America’s. It is time we stop paying Pakistan for its betrayal and designate it for what it is: a state sponsor of terrorism,” he said.
Poe said if the administration does not want to designate Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism, then there has to be a “legal justification” as to why it does not meet the legal criteria for such a designation.
“The bill does not designate Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism, it requires the President and the State Department to make that determination,” he said.
The Congressman alleged that Pakistan takes money from the United States but they seem to support terrorism.
“Perfect example is Osama bin Laden. ISI was hiding him out… It is difficult to believe that Pakistan, particularly the ISI did not know that ISI was there,” he said.
“Pakistan fosters relationship with terrorist groups as a way to leverage over its rivals in India and Afghanistan,” Poe alleged