Pak not taking action against LeT, JeM: US

Washington: Pakistan has not taken “sufficient action” against terror groups like LeT and JeM, blamed for attacks in India, the US has said while noting that these outfits continue to operate, train, organise and fundraise in that country. The State Department in its annual ‘Country Reports on Terrorism – 2015’ report said that the Pakistani military and security forces undertook operations against groups that conducted attacks within Pakistan such as Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), but did not take action against externally-focused terror groups.

It said some UN-designated terrorist groups, such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) affiliates Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation (FiF) were able to raise funds and hold rallies in Pakistan.

“Pakistan did not take substantial action against the Afghan Taliban or Haqqani, or substantially limit their ability to threaten US interests in Afghanistan, although Pakistan supported efforts to bring both groups into an Afghan-led peace process. “Pakistan has also not taken sufficient action against other externally-focused groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), which continued to operate, train, organize, and fundraise in Pakistan,” it said.

LeT and JuD leader Hafiz Saeed, who is also a UN- designated terrorist, was able to make frequent public appearances in support of the organization’s objectives, which were covered by the Pakistani media.

“In September, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Agency prohibited media coverage of LeT and affiliated groups, although the groups continued to recruit and operate around the country. Despite JuD and FiF’s proscription under UN sanctions regimes, the Pakistani government affirmed in December that neither organisation was banned in Pakistan,” the State Department said.

India, the State Department said continued to experience terrorist attacks, including operations launched by Maoist insurgents and transnational groups based in Pakistan. Indian authorities continued to blame Pakistan for cross-border attacks in Jammu and Kashmir, it said.

In July, India experienced a terrorist attack in Gurdaspur, Punjab; the first in the state since the 1990s, the report said.

Over the course of 2015, the Indian government sought to deepen counter-terrorism cooperation with the US.

President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi continued to prioritise counter-terrorism cooperation during Obama’s visit to India in January and Modi’s visit to Washington in September. The Indian government closely monitored the domestic threat from the IS and other terrorist organisations, it said.

The State Department said Pakistan was also slow in taking action against 2008 Mumbai attack perpetrators.

“Anti-Terrorism Courts had limited procedures for obtaining or admitting foreign evidence. The trial of seven suspects accused in the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack was ongoing at year’s end, with many witnesses for the prosecution remaining to be called by the court.

“Security concerns and procedural issues resulted in a slow pace of trial proceedings. In December 2014, the court granted bail to the lead defendant, alleged Mumbai attack planner and LeT operational commander Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi. Lakhvi was released from prison on bail in April 2015 and the Government of Pakistan reports he remained under house arrest at the end of 2015,” the report said.

According to the State Department, money transfer systems persisted throughout much of Pakistan, especially along the country’s long border with Afghanistan and may be abused by drug traffickers and terrorist financiers operating in the cross-border area.

While Pakistani authorities did report having frozen assets of UN-designated entities during 2015, the amount was unclear. The US government was not informed of any successful terrorism financing prosecutions in 2015.

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Free Press Journal