Amidst new peace overtures from the Imran Khan government after the re-election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the White House has made it clear to Pakistan that the “onus for sustained peace in South Asia is on Islamabad”, by putting the terror groups out of business.
Imran Khan has written a second letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi after his re-election, saying that Pakistan wants talks with India to resolve all differences, including on the Kashmir issue.
However, India has rejected Pakistan’s offer of talks, maintaining that terror and talks cannot go together and said that no bilateral meeting has been planned between the two leaders on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Summit or SCO summit in Kyrgyzstan’s capital Bishkek on June 13-14.
“What the United States is really looking for in Pakistan are arrests and prosecutions and not allowing these groups to operate and move around freely, acquire weapons, cross into India, carry out attacks,” a senior White House official told news agency Press Trust of India this week.
“The United States is looking for sustained and irreversible steps that shut down their operations,” asserted the official who spoke to news agency Press Trust of India on the condition of anonymity.
“Until these groups are put out of business, it’s going to be very difficult for India and Pakistan to achieve a sustained peace. So the onus is on Pakistan to ensure that they crack down on these groups,” said the White House official responding to a question on the US assessment of the India-Pakistan tension.
A senior US State Department official said that after the Pulwama terrorist attack, the US has seen Pakistan taking some initial actions against designated terrorist organisations and more steps to enhance counter terrorism financing measures.
“We welcome those steps,” the official said.
“We have always agreed that the underlying causes of the tensions between India and Pakistan needed to be addressed…and the underlying tension has been the role of terrorist forces that have sanctuary on Pakistani soil. So we certainly encourage the creation of an environment that will lead to a dialogue,” the official said.
Pakistan needs to take practical steps to demonstrate that it is countering terrorist financing and extremists that are located on their territory, a senior State Department Official told reporters last week.
Paris-based international terror financing watchdog Financial Action Task Force or FATF in June last year placed Pakistan onto its watch list in a bid to push the country to halt support for terror groups.