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Pakistan fails to act, yet again

Pakistan fails to act, yet again
Highlights

Conflicting reports about whether or not the Pakistan government has formally banned Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JUD) and the Haqqani network indicate that Islamabad is yet again playing the game of hunting with the hounds and running with the hare.

Conflicting reports about whether or not the Pakistan government has formally banned Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JUD) and the Haqqani network indicate that Islamabad is yet again playing the game of hunting with the hounds and running with the hare. This is nothing new and should not surprise anybody. The world community is used to it, even as it seeks to ignore it when convenient.

Two points emerge from this. One, for India there is not going to be any respite from sustained activities in Pakistan (JUD and its founder Hafeez Saeed) and Afghanistan (by Haqqani network). Two, there are limits to which the US can ensure that its will must prevail in a country that is abjectly dependent upon its largesse. What the US did not or could not do for the last six years, when it had a military presence in neighbouring Afghanistan, it can hardly do it now with minimal military presence.

No doubt, the US took the unusual position of warning Pakistan against sponsoring or facilitating any violence in Jammu and Kashmir during the India visit of Barack Obama. Here, one is reminded of one of his predecessors, Bill Clinton, warning Pakistan at Islamabad Airport, not even bothering to enter the city and another, George W Bush, while pushing a civil nuclear deal with India refusing the same, point blank, when Pakistan sought it because of its dubious role in nuclear proliferation. But all this has not reduced Pakistan’s protecting and managing its “strategic assets,” of which Saeed and the Haqqani network are the most prominent. Saeed is forever running an anti-India campaign because the latter has charged him and his Laskhar-e-Toyaba with masterminding the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. And Haqqani network, headed by Jalaluddin Haqqani, has been used by Pakistan Army’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) for attacking Indian establishments in Afghanistan. Significantly, the UN banned the JuD and the Haqqani network way back in 2008 after the Mumbai bloodbath.

The latest pressure on Pakistan was mounted by US Secretary of State John Kerry during his Islamabad visit earlier this month. Kerry was unambiguous in stressing that Islamabad must rein in forces that are inimical to “India, Pakistan and the US.” Pakistan, as per reports, has responded by imposing formal bans. Now, even that is disputed when the foreign office spokesperson in Islamabad says: “JUD and some other organisations are listed by the United Nations… we are required to freeze their assets and enforce travel curbs. We take that action.” The statement “we take that action” raises the two questions. One, has Islamabad at all banned the two outfits and enforced them? Secondly, it made no mention of the Haqqani network. The next stage after a formal ban is to act upon it. Pakistan has to issue orders to enforce those bans. It is obvious that it is far from doing that.

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