Khalilzad wants Pakistan sanctioned for sponsoring terror
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): Due to its continued support to terrorist groups, Pakistan merits to be put on the State Department’s list of countries sponsoringterrorism, a former US diplomat said on Tuesday.
“Pakistan is currently designated by the United States as a major non-NATO ally. This status is wholly inappropriate. Pakistan’s current policy and conduct would better merit its inclusion on the State Department’s list of state-sponsors of terrorism,” he said.
Zalmay Khalilzad told US lawmakers, politically, Pakistan could not be a member in good standing of the international community so long as its agencies or military services aggressed against Afghanistan.
The hearing titled “Pakistan: Friend or Foe in the Fight Against Terrorism?” has been jointly convened by the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Non-Proliferation and Trade and Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Khalilzad believed the UN Security Council was an appropriate forum, where the issue of Pakistan’s aggression against Afghanistan should be raised.
“To help secure international support for a US-Afghan-sponsored resolution condemning Pakistan, Washington should declassify and broadcast information on its support for the insurgency and narcotics trafficking,” he said.
Khalilzad, who served as the US Ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and the United Nations during the Bush administration, alleged since the overthrow of the Taliban regime, Pakistan had been playing a perfidious and dangerous double game.
The May 21 killing of Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour in a US drone strike in Pakistan’s southern province of Balochistan had created a golden hour to confront Pakistan, he argued.
“Washington can force Islamabad to make a choice: US aid and international support or a continued relationship with the Haqqani network and irreconcilable Taliban.
“Catalysing a decisive effect on Pakistani policy, however, will require the US to escalate pressure on Islamabad,” he noted. “Otherwise the opportunity will dissipate,”the diplomat warned.
For Islamabad to break with the Haqqani network and Taliban, the Pakistani leadership needed to see that continued support for the insurgency would come at a high price, he added.
Escalating drone strikes against Haqqani and irreconcilable Taliban leaders would deliver that message, but such raids alone would not be enough in the absence of political and financial pressures, he continued.
“On the financial side, Pakistan has been an enormous beneficiary of international support -- specifically from Coalition Support Fund, bilateral and multilateral assistance from the IMF and World Bank,” he said.
The US should warn Pakistan that it would face escalating financial sanctions, like those imposed on Iran in the past, unless it facilitatedAfghan reconciliation talks, Khalilzad maintained.
“As an initial step, the US can impose financial and travel restrictions on senior Pakistani officials known to be complicit in the insurgency, and freeze funds in US banks belonging to Pakistani entities, both military and corporate, involved in financing the Taliban,” he said.
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