NEW DELHI: It appears the US Congress has decided against including action against terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) as a condition to reimburse Pakistan for its cooperation in the ‘war on terror’, reported Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper.
A new version of the US bill authorising such payments to Pakistan from the Coalition Support Fund, retains action against the Haqqani Network but has no mention of the LeT, Dawn said citing the
‘National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA 2018) for Fiscal Year 2018 Conference Report.’
The Haqqani Network, a deadly offshoot of the Taliban, focusses its terror activities on Afghanistan. The LeT – which is banned – carries out its terror acts in India; its founder Hafiz Saeed masterminded the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.
The decision to exclude the LeT may come as a disappointment to India, which this year has had success in getting global forums to name and shame India-focussed Pakistan-based terror groups like the LeT and the Jaish-e-Muhammad.
In September, the version of NDAA 2018 passed by the US Senate said Pakistan must show “it has taken steps to demonstrate its commitment to prevent the Haqqani Network and Lashkar-e- Taiba from using any Pakistan territory as a haven and for fundraising and recruiting efforts”, reported PTI in September.
Now, the `conference’ version of the NDAA 2018 – which is the bill that removes the differences between the Senate’s version and that of the House of Representatives – focusses entirely on the Haqqani Network.
According to Dawn, this joint version of the bill says that $350 million of a total $700 million in reimbursements won’t be given to Pakistan unless it takes significant action against the Haqqani Network’s safe havens, and its fundraising and recruiting efforts. The US Secretary of Defence must issue a certificate to the Congressional Defence Committees saying that Pakistan is taking this action.
India’s success in shaming LeT
In September, for the first time, BRICS countries slammed Pakistan without naming it, as they “deplored” terror attacks in member countries and the “violence caused” by Pakistan-based terror outfits. The ‘BRICS Xiamen Declaration’ specifically named LeT and JeM+ , as well as the Haqqani Network, the Taliban, ISIL/DAISH and Al-Qaida.
In addition, the BRICS members also called for greater efficiency in designation of terrorists. This was particularly significant, because it is BRICS member China that has been blocking designating Jaish-e-Muhammad chief Masood Azhar a terrorist.
Later that month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe, in a joint statement, called upon all countries to work towards rooting out terrorist safe havens and infrastructure, disrupting terrorist networks and financing channels and halting cross-border movement of terrorists. Their statement also named the LeT.
When it came to the issue of perpetrators of terror attacks, including the 2008 Mumbai and 2016 Pathankot strikes, the two leaders didn’t shy away from naming Pakistan, and called upon it to bring to justice those who carried out the attacks.
“PM (Narendra Modi and PM (Shinzo) Abe look forward to convening (the) 5th Japan-India consultation on terrorism and to strengthen cooperation against terrorists threats from groups including Al-Qaida, ISIS, JeM, LeT and their affiliates,” said the two countries in a joint statement at the end of Abe’s 2-day visit to India.