Islamabad [Pakistan], March 27 (ANI): Pakistan is getting a taste of its own medicine as the Islamist terror groups that practice jihad that the Pakistani state patronised since the 1980s is coming back to haunt as the country now faces home-grown militants and Financial Action Task Force (FATF) action, a report said.
Islamic militant groups that have gained strength over the decades are today stronger and independent of their political and military patrons. Many of them have now turned against the State and some, like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), may do so in the future, the report in the International Forum for Rights and Security (IFFRAS), an international think-tank said.
A whopping 81 terror organisations were operating inside Pakistan during the 1980 and 1990s. Of them, 36 are now inactive. The remaining 45 are still active, the report said citing The South Asian Terror Portal.
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) of the United States reported last October that scores of terror groups reside in Pakistan, adding that, the country is home to at least 12 groups designated as ‘foreign terrorist organisations’, including five of them, being India-centric like LeT and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).
The CRS report further said that Pakistan has “continued to serve as a safe haven for certain regionally-focused terrorist groups,” and has “allowed groups targeting Afghanistan … as well as groups targeting India …to operate from its territory” citing US State Department’s Country Reports on Terrorism 2019.
“Pakistan’s strategy toward militant groups has long been two-pronged, as it were: to take overt (and successful) action against groups targeting the Pakistani state and citizenry, like the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), without taking action against the groups it has considered ‘strategic assets,’ including the Afghan Taliban that sought sanctuary on its soil and anti-India militants that its intelligence agencies have covertly supported,” a Brookings report said last year.
The report noted that the Pakistani government and the military establishment both maintained relations with the Taliban because it hoped to influence politics in Afghanistan after the US withdrawal. On the other hand, it continued to give patronage to several militant proxies in the belief that they will give it a footing in India.
However, these groups have now become a millstone around Pakistan’s neck. India’s consistent attempts to prove the terror credentials of Pakistan, along with reducing trust of the US in Pakistan’s ability to contain or fight terrorism in the sub-continent, have ended in Pakistan coming under the watchful glare of the FATF. The country continues to be on the grey list on account of terror funding and financing activities.
“The FATF listing has induced Pakistan to take its strictest action to date on militant groups, especially LeT. It also helps that Pakistan is keen to shed an image associated with terrorism. Yet the long-term sustainability of actions Pakistan has taken in response to pressure from FATF remains to be seen,” the Brookings report said.
The central issue is not one of state capacity, but an unwillingness of the Pakistani state to paint all jihadist groups with the same brush and to recognize the linkages in ideology that connect them all — and also to acknowledge how those ideologies find fodder in Pakistan’s laws, educational curricula, politics, and indeed the very nature of how Pakistan has defined itself, the report said.
Pakistan failed to recognise that in its eagerness to play a sub-continental role in South Asia, it embraced religious extremism and jihadi strategy that is now turning into quicksand for the country to get sucked up, the report concluded. (ANI)
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