Reportedly, US-India Counter Terrorism Joint Working Group and Designations Dialogue in a joint statement on September 10, noted that the two sides underlined the urgent need for Pakistan to take immediate, sustained, and irreversible action to ensure that no territory under its control was used for terrorist attacks, and to expeditiously bring to justice the perpetrators of such attacks, including 26/11 Mumbai and Pathankot. The US reiterated its support for the people and government of India in the fight against terrorism. It also denounced use of terrorist proxies and strongly condemned cross-border terrorism in all its forms. According to the statement they also exchanged views on threats posed by UN-sanctioned terrorist entities and emphasized the need for a concerted action against all terrorist networks, including al-Qaida, ISIS/Daesh, Lashkar e-Tayyiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), and Hizbul Mujahideen.

Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has strongly rejected the statement saying the reference to Pakistan was completely unacceptable and divorced from ground realities. It also drew the attention of the world community to the fact that Pakistan was a country most affected by cross-border terrorism sponsored and supported by India. It held that the international community also recognised Pakistan’s efforts, sacrifices and successes in the fight against terrorism and it has repeatedly underlined that peace and stability in South Asia is threatened by the irresponsible policies and actions of the RSS-BJP regime in India—including towards its minorities, its state terrorism in IIO&JK and its belligerence against Pakistan and other countries in the region.

The statement of the joint group is actually an endorsement of the Indian narrative in regards to Pakistan being the epicentre of terrorism and its government not doing anything to curb the non-state terrorist outfits operating from its soil against its neighbours. It is pertinent to point out that the US state department in its annual report on terrorism for the year 2019 released recently had also made similar accusations against Pakistan. The report observed “Pakistan continued to serve as a safe haven for certain regionally focused terrorist groups. It allowed groups targeting Afghanistan, including the Afghan Taliban and affiliated HQN, as well as groups targeting India, including LeT and its affiliated front organisations, and JeM, to operate from its territory. Pakistan took modest steps in 2019 to counter terror financing and to restrain some India-focused militant groups following the February attack on a security convoy in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir claimed by Pakistan-based JeM”.

Pakistan had also reacted in the same manner on that report. It is true that Pakistan has suffered a lot in terms of men and material in the fight against terrorism as a frontline state. It has taken decisive and indiscriminate action against the terrorist entities based on its soil and also played a pivotal role in the decimation of Al-Qaeda. Pakistan has also taken wide-ranging steps to implement FATF demands in regards to curbing money laundering and terror financing, the steps which have also been recognised by FATF. Pakistan has made a stellar contribution in promoting the peace process in Afghanistan that eventually led to the peace deal between the US and the Taliban which also paved the way for intra-Afghan dialogue.

The reality is that the US and the world community is aware of what Pakistan has done to check terrorism in its tracks and the sacrifices rendered by her which have sporadically also been acknowledged by the US political and military leadership. But when it comes to India, their vision and sense of fairness becomes blurred. They fail to see the state-terrorism practiced by India in promoting acts of terrorism within Pakistan and supporting insurgency in Balochistan which has been corroborated by the confessions made by Kalbhushan Jhadav during investigations. Even the ICJ has not challenged the allegations against him and the punishment given to him.

The US and its allies look the other way while India is engaged in illegal actions in IIO&JK and continues to persecute the people of the state with impunity and without international pressure. India is a strategic partner of the trio of US, UK and France whom they are propping up as a regional superpower to advance the objective of ‘contain China’ policy. As long as India continues to do their bidding, they will keep the blinkers on their eyes and have their ears stuffed.

The US-India strategic partnership besides being anti-China is also anti-Pakistan, the countries with which India is at loggerheads. The US also played a role in having Pakistan put on the grey list in 2018 and since then India has been trying her best to have Pakistan pushed to the black list. The US and her allies are also supporting Indian bid for a permanent seat in the UNSC. The US has signed a civil nuclear technology deal with Indian in contravention of the provisions of NPT and also helped India to get the NSG waiver.

My considered view is that it was a grave mistake on the part of our policy strategists to fall in the lap of the USA in the early fifties against a next door super power for which we ultimately suffered irretrievably. No matter what we do the US will remain pro-India. We should not be expecting any good from her. Our dilemma is that we cannot afford a rupture in relations with the USA and perforce have to remain engaged with her. Incurring her displeasure could be harmful to Pakistan in many ways. Nevertheless, Pakistan needs a serious rethinking on her ties with the US and put greater emphasis on seeking solutions to her security and strategic issues within its own region where it belongs.

As far as Kashmir is concerned, in spite of the success of Pakistan’s diplomatic offensive in sensitising the world about illegality of the Indian actions in IIO&JK that led to rejection of the Indian narrative of it being an internal issue and the acknowledgement by UNSC that Kashmir dispute needed to be resolve in conformity with principles of UN charter and the relevant resolutions, I do not see any possibility of any progress regarding resolution of the dispute in the foreseeable future in the permeating global political environment.

The Foreign Office drew the attention of international community which was well-aware that Pakistan was a country most affected by cross-border terrorism, sponsored and supported by India. “The international community also recognises Pakistan’s efforts, sacrifices and successes in the fight against terrorism”, said the Foreign Office.

Pakistan has repeatedly underlined that peace and stability in South Asia is threatened by the irresponsible policies and actions of the RSS-BJP regime in India—including towards its minorities, its state-terrorism in IOJ&K, and its belligerence against Pakistan and other countries in the region.

The international community must urge India to reverse course and desist from playing a role detrimental to regional peace and stability.

The writer is a freelance columnist. He can be reached at ashpak10@gmail.com.