Declaring Pakistan A State Sponsor of Terrorism May Be Counter-Productive, Say Scholars

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With increased attacks in Afghanistan, assumed to be sponsored by Pakistan, suggestions are being made to declare the latter a “state sponsor of terrorism.”

Declaring Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism may prove to be a counter-productive move, scholars suggest.

During a panel discussion at a Washington think tank, Woodrow Wilson Centre’s Asia Program, three scholars dismissed the suggestion, arguing that doing so would not help coerce Islamabad into changing its policies, Dawn reported.

Labelling a country “a state sponsor of terrorism, is not a surgical instrument, that’s a really, really heavy hammer,” said Stephen Tankel, an assistant professor at School of Public Affairs, American University, Washington.

“The sanctions that come with that pretty much obliterate any chance you have engaging on a whole host of other issues,” he added.

Daud Khattak, Senior Editor, Radio Mashaal, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty raised questions about further steps to be taken, in case the move and sanctions imposed on the country prove ineffectual, “Let’s declare Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism today. But what next, if there’s no change? Will you take some more serious steps?”

Madiha Afzal, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, Washington, and author of ‘Pakistan Under Siege: Extremism, Society, and the State’ suggested alternative steps and “less single-minded approach, to actually make Pakistan move.”

Afzal also urged the Trump administration to work with China to persuade Pakistan to listen to US complaints about Islamabad’s role in Afghanistan, assuring that “Pakistan will listen.”

With increased attacks in Afghanistan, assumed to be sponsored by Pakistan, suggestions are being made to declare the latter a “state sponsor of terrorism.”

Earlier in January, US President Donald Trump slammed Pakistan, saying that 33 billion dollars in aid were “foolishly given (to) Pakistan” over the last 15 years, and alleged that the country gives safe haven to the terrorists who carry attacks in Afghanistan.

This was followed by Washington suspending military aid to Pakistan until it took decisive steps against terrorists.

However, Pakistan has categorically denied the accusation.

Recently, Pakistan’s Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa claimed that Pakistan does not have any organised terror outfits on its soil.

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