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Pakistan expresses disappointment over US report critical of Islamabad on terror

Pakistan expresses disappointment over US report critical of Islamabad on terror
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Pakistan on Tuesday expressed "disappointment" over a US report criticising it for its failure to "significantly limit"

Islamabad: Pakistan on Tuesday expressed "disappointment" over a US report criticising it for its failure to "significantly limit" militant outfits like the LeT and the JeM from fundraising and recruiting, saying the Congressional-mandated document completely overlooks the factual situation on the ground.

The State Department's 'Country Report on Terrorism 2018' on Friday said that the Pakistani government did not restrict the Taliban and the Haqqani Network from operating in Pakistan-based safe havens and threatening the US and Afghan forces. The damning report also said that Pakistan has "failed to significantly limit" militant outfits like the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) from fundraising and recruiting while several terrorist groups that focus on attacks outside the country continued to operate from its soil in 2018.

Reacting on the report, Pakistan's Foreign Office (FO) said that the country was committed to taking concrete actions under its National Action Plan to eliminate terrorism. "Pakistan is disappointed with assertions made in the US Department of State's Country Report on Terrorism 2018. The report completely overlooks the factual situation on the ground and the tremendous contribution made and sacrifices rendered by Pakistan over the last two decades in the international struggle against terrorism.

"These efforts have not only resulted in the elimination of al-Qaeda from this region but have also made the world a safer place," it claimed in a statement. Pakistan has taken extensive legal and administrative measures for implementation of its obligations under the UNSC 1267 Sanctions regime for the freezing of assets and denial of funds and economic resources to all designated entities and individuals, the FO said, adding that it was continuing actions to fully implement the FATF Action Plan for which the deadline was extended till February.

The FO said that "the report, however, fails to mention that these groups continue to operate and conduct terrorist activities against Pakistan from across the border". Pakistan facilitated the US and Taliban direct talks in the context of the Afghan peace and reconciliation process in good faith, it said. "Any insinuation to the contrary is unwarranted and is inconsistent with the positive trajectory of the bilateral relations," it said.

Pakistan called for "constructive engagement" to effectively advance counter-terrorism efforts and hoped that its commitment, contributions and sacrifices would be fully recognised and appreciated, the FO added. The US report observed that the government and military acted inconsistently with respect to terrorist safe havens throughout the country. "Authorities did not take sufficient action to stop certain terrorist groups and individuals from openly operating in the country, it added.

By Sajjad Hussain

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