Pakistan on Thursday expressed dismay over US State Department’s Annual Country Report on Terrorism for 2019 for being “selective in its characterisation of Pakistan’s efforts for countering terrorism and terrorist financing”.
In an official statement, the Foreign Office called the report “self-contradictory”, saying that it recognises the degraded threat of Al-Qaeda in the region but failed to recognize the role of Pakistan in its elimination.
“Similarly, the Report acknowledges the sharp decrease in the incidence of terrorist attacks in Pakistan. However, it neglects to explain that this was only possible because Pakistan’s resolute counter-terrorism operations have targeted proscribed groups and outfits without discrimination,” the FO stated.
It further said that Pakistan is completely aware of its responsibilities as a sovereign state and it will not allow any terror group to use its territory against any other nation.
“We reject any insinuation about any safe haven. Pakistan will not allow any group or entity to use its territory against any country. On the contrary, it is Pakistan that faces the threat of terrorism from externally based and foreign sponsored groups, like the TTP, ISIS-K and others. The Report is again either silent or vague on the origins and locations of these terrorist groups,” it said.
The FO said that the country remains committed to fulfilling its obligations under the United Nations Security Council’s1267 sanctions regime which pertains to freezing of assets and denial of funds to all mentioned entities and individuals.
According to the statement, Pakistan has prosecuted and convicted the leaders of several banned outfits, which has been acknowledged by the US as well, however, it was fleetingly mentioned in the annual report.
The FO also spoke about Pakistan’s commitment to the Financial Action Task Force’s Action Plan. “Pakistan also continues to implement the FATF Action Plan and has undertaken wide-ranging and systemic reforms to that end.
While it notes the progress made by Pakistan under the Action Plan, the report did not capture the political commitment, revamping of Pakistan’s AML/CFT regime, and our consistent and sustainable actions which have also been recognised by FATF.”
The US report, the FO lamented, glaringly failed to acknowledge the role played by Pakistan in the Afghan peace process and enduring peace in the region.
In its ending note, the FO stated: “Pakistan’s positive contribution and facilitation of U.S.-Taliban direct talks culminating in the Peace Agreement of 29 February 2020 are widely acknowledged, including by the US and its leadership.
Pakistan hopes that future US reports will fully acknowledge the entire spectrum of Pakistan’s counter-terrorism efforts and present a fair and correct perspective of this global threat.”