Pakistan didn’t sufficiently act against LeT, JeM: US

Washington:Terror groups like Lashkar e-Tayyaba and Jaish-e-Mohammad, which have organised terror attacks in India in the past, continue to pose a regional threat and Pakistan did not take sufficient action to address Washington’s concern in 2017, the US State Department has said in a report.

The Department in its annual Country Reports on Terrorism for 2017 said on Wednesday that “although Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan has been seriously degraded, remnants of Al Qaeda’s global leadership as well as its regional affiliate AQIS, continued to operate from remote locations in the region that historically have been exploited as safe havens”.

It said that “Pakistan did not take sufficient action against other groups such as LeT and JeM in 2017, which continued to operate, train, organize and fundraise in the region”.

“Pakistan detained Hafiz Saeed, leader of LeT and its front organisation Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), in January 2017, but a court there ordered his release from house arrest in November 2017,” it said.

The US report stated that India continued to experience attacks in 2017, including by Pakistan-based terrorist organizations as well as tribal and Maoist insurgents.

“From August to December 2017, the (Donald) Trump administration placed a pause on spending new foreign military financing for Pakistan, holding these funds until Pakistan addressed key US concerns, including the threat posed by the Haqqani Network and other terrorist groups that enjoyed safe haven with Pakistan.

“Pakistan did not adequately address these concerns in 2017,” said the report.

Referring to Pakistan’s National Action Plan to combat terrorism, the document stated that “although the plan sought to ensure that no armed militias are allowed to function in the country, several terrorist groups focused on attacks outside of the country and continued to operate from Pakistani soil in 2017”.

It said even as the Pakistani government pledged support to political reconciliation between the Afghan government and the Afghan Taliban it did not restrict the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani Network from operating in Pakistan-based safe havens and threatening US and Afghan forces in Afghanistan.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), it said, continued to note with concern that though “Pakistan criminalizes terrorist financing, but its implementation remains uneven”.

The FATF said that Islamabad’s outstanding gaps in the implementation of the UN Security Council Islamic State and Al Qaeda sanctions regime “have not been resolved and that UN-listed entities — including LeT and its affiliates — were not effectively prohibited from raising funds in Pakistan, nor were they denied financial services”.

“Although Pakistan’s laws technically comply with international anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism standards, authorities failed to uniformly implement UN sanctions related to designated entities and individuals such as LeT and its affiliates, which continued to make use of economic resources and raise funds,” it said.