Fabien Baussart
Fabien Baussart

Who is responsible for Pakistan becoming terror sponsor?

Pakistan has brazenly refused to prosecute the 26/11 accused even 13 years after the terrorist attack which killed over 160 persons in Mumbai because powerful countries like the US, UK and China chose to sit out on the fence. This failure on part of the international community made Pakistan into a rogue nation and an epicenter of global terrorist threat.

The role of the UN and other powerful global organizations like FATF in letting Pakistan escape any meaningful sanction for its overt and covert terrorist activities, including the Mumbai attacks, has been appalling.

The US had the legitimate reason and powerful instrument to punish Pakistan for the death of six of its citizens in the Mumbai attack. It knew, within days of the attack, the direct role Pak Army and its proxy terrorist groups played in planning and executing the Mumbai attack. But the US administration chose to let Pakistan go scot free with minor scolding on the assumption that the rogue country would help in fulfilling the larger strategic objectives of hunting al Qaeda chief, Osama bin Laden, and to stabilize Afghanistan for an honourable exit. On both counts, the US was deceived by Pakistan. A key reason for the US’ humiliating exit from Afghanistan has been Pakistan’s duplicity, in aiding the Taliban offensive with US weapons and money. The failure to failure in punishing Pakistan for keeping global terrorism alive has been the singular failure of the US foreign policy.

A well-known US diplomat, Zalmay Khalizad, who played a key role in shaping the US policy in Afghanistan, had warned the US Congress during a briefing in 2016 about “Pakistan’s use of extremist and terrorist proxies, including to threaten India,“ and pointed out that it was “ a significant contributor to the global menace of Islamic extremism“. He recommended that Pakistan be listed as a state sponsor of terrorism. Far from sanctioning Pakistan, the US administration in fact co-opted the rogue country to be its main ally in Afghanistan, a decision for which the US had to pay a heavy price in terms of loss of face and strategic goals. The US defeat in Afghanistan, engineered by Pakistan, has been a victory for global jihad.

In the UN’s failure on terrorism, China’s role in stonewalling consistent efforts to sanction Pak-based terrorist outfits and their leaders has been phenomenal. Using its veto power in the UN, China went out of its way to save Pakistan from being sanctioned even on paper. China’s role in helping Pakistan to violate international norms and conventions on terrorism has been a significant factor in making Pakistan a terrorist sponsor. On the Mumbai attack, China only played lip service in condemning terrorism but absolved Pakistan of being involved in the attack. China for many years thereafter blocked efforts to sanction LeT and its leader Hafiz Saeed in the UN Security Council.

Even FATF’s continuing leniency in dealing with Pakistan’s systematic blocking of successive directives to shut down terrorist financing shows how little the international community has chosen to learn from dealing with a rogue country. For years now, FATF has kept Pakistan on the grey list, occasionally threatening to blacklist the country. Pakistan now stands exposed after a high court dismissed charges against six LeT leaders arrested on terrorist financing charges after the FATF ultimatum. Now the only thing that remains to happen is the court throwing out similar charges against other LeT leaders, including Hafiz Saeed in the days to come. That would prove how pusillanimous has FATF been in dealing with the most dangerous country in the world.

About the Author
Fabien Baussart is the President of CPFA (Center of Political and Foreign Affairs)
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