|| By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd.)
Former Director General of Information Systems, Indian Army
September 20 was historical with US Congressman Ted Poe, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, and Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, introduced ‘H.R.6069, the Pakistan State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation Act’ in the US Congress. It’s significance is reflected in what Carlotta Gall, veteran reporter wrote in her article ‘Pakistan’s Hand in the Rise of International Jihad’ in New York Times on February 16, 2016, “The madrassa, a longtime instrument of Pakistani intelligence, has been training people from the ethnic minorities of northern Afghanistan alongside its standard clientele of Pashtuns. The aim is still to win control of northern Afghanistan through these young graduates (“Pakistan’s Ivy League of Terrorism”). From there they have their eyes on Central Asia and western China. Pakistani clerics are educating and radicalizing Chinese Uighurs as well, along with Central Asians from the former Soviet republics….
No one has held Pakistan to account for this behavior… “Why would Pakistan give it up now?” Pakistani journalist Amir Mir, Pakistani journalist, wrote in the Asia Times on may 29 May, “The poor state of media freedom in Pakistan can be gauged from the fact that many upright journalists have been forced in recent years to abandon their homeland or go into hiding, fearing for their lives”. Scores of Pakistani journalists have been done away with, like Asia Times Pakistan Bureau Chief Syed Saleem Shahzad who was brutally tortured to death in May 2011.
While introducing HR 6069, Ted Poe said, “It is time we stopped paying Pakistan for its betrayal and designate it for what it is: a state sponsor of terrorism. Not only is Pakistan an untrustworthy ally, Islamabad has also aided and abetted enemies of the US for years. 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. The follow up to introduction of HR 6069 is envisaged by Ted Poe as follows: President Obama must issue a report within 90 days of passage detailing whether or not Pakistan has provided support for international terrorism, and; 30 days after that, the Secretary of State John Kerry must issue a follow-up report containing either a determination that Pakistan is a state sponsor of terrorism or a detailed justification as to why Pakistan does not meet the legal criteria for designation. In a separate statement, Congressman Pete Olson supported every effort to bring to justice the perpetrators of the Uri terrorist attack by Pakistan-backed terrorists. Interestingly, a petition on the official website of the White House asking for Pakistan to be declared as a state sponsor of terrorism has gathered massive support from netizens. Created with a goal of 100,000 signatures on September 21, there were over 82,000 signatories in just under five days, which has now crossed 600,000. The petition states that declaring Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism is 'important to the people of United State of America, India and many other countries which are continuously affected by Pakistan sponsored terrorism.' While there is much excitement in India regarding ‘H.R.6069, Carlotta Gal also wrote in her abovementioned article, “It’s an old story; and in the very limited time I have left in the mundane world, I find myself again wearily repeating it in the unheeded wilderness - a world refusing to act to stop the world’s most lethal military-terrorist nexus: Pakistan is the only terrorist state with active support of the governments of the USA and China”.
But the question is what beyond and why did the introduction of this bill have to wait for the terrorist attack in Uri? The US military has been suffering kills at the hands of Pakistani proxies, primarily on hands of the Haqqani Network, for decades. The US has been calling upon Pakistan to dismantle the Haqqani Network for decades too and any more calls just add to perfunctory signals. What about the radical mullah Hafiz Saeed with a US bounty on his head; not only could the CIA have him murdered in a jiify, there was not a whisper of admonishment by the US during the numerous open rallies Hafiz was holding in Pakistan under ISI tutelage to incite terror. Even the operational involvement LeT and JeM in Afghanistan has been brought out through a UN report, not by US intelligence. So, is the introduction of H.R.6069 timed with its possible oblivion with change in the US President and Secretary of State shortly hereafter? Will the US President pass this bill, whose passage implies US ceases all business with Pakistan under US laws? But while hoping that US declares Pakistan a terrorist state, does India have the will to declare Pakistan a terrorist state?