Can the US declare Pakistan a Terrorist State? A top Republican lawmaker has proposed US President Donald Trump to immediately designate Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism and terminate its non-NATO ally status.
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Congressman Ted Poe said in the House of Representatives that Pakistan will not receive any financial support from Washington if terrorists continue to live safely in the country. He also said that Islamabad consistently defends Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed and condemns US’ counterterrorism efforts.
All assistance to Pakistan must end, its major non-NATO ally status must be terminated, and the State Department should immediately designate it as a state sponsor of terrorism,” Ted Poe said last week, according to Congressional records.
The Republican Congressman slammed Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi for what he described as lecturing the US on aid. “While I do not oppose open engagement with Pakistan, our stance must be clear: Pakistan will not receive a dime of US support if terrorists continue to live safely on their soil,” he said.
Fortunately, President Trump has disrupted the status quo and suspended most of the funding we give to Pakistan, specifically calling them out for their support to terrorism. But more should be done,” he said.
Poe said if Pakistani Foreign Minister was truly keen to restore ties, he should accept responsibility and acknowledge that innumerable terrorists still hide Pakistan.
“His country has been the epicentre for extremism for decades, where extremists are still able to hold massive public rallies to incite young men to violence. This isn’t conjectured, the evidence is well documented,” he asserted.
Poe said Mumbai terror mastermind and UN-designated terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hafiz Saeed operated freely in Pakistan. Despite his role in the 2008 Mumbai attack, Saeed leads public rallies and can raise money for terror operations he said.
“If the Foreign Minister wanted to earn our trust, his government could demonstrate good faith by taking action. This includes handing over Saeed, the leaders of the Taliban and Haqqani Network, and banning all extremist groups on its soil. But this is a fantasy,” Poe said.
The relations between Pakistan and the US deteriorated after President Trump accused Islamabad of giving nothing to Washington but “lies and deceit” and providing “safe haven” to terrorists. The US Congress also passed a bill to cut Pakistan’s defence aid to USD 150 million, significantly below the historic level of more than USD one billion per year.