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US Looking at Tools at its Disposal to Convince Pakistan to Crack Down on Terrorist Groups

"Pakistan has a stark choice: Cooperate and enjoy the benefits of close relationship with the U.S. and the rest of the world, or face international isolation if it chooses not to change its behaviour," the official said in response to a question.

PTI

Updated:November 26, 2018, 8:49 AM IST
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US Looking at Tools at its Disposal to Convince Pakistan to Crack Down on Terrorist Groups
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Washington:Except for designating Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism, the United States is looking at all possible tools at its disposal to convince Islamabad that it is in its interest to crack down on terrorist group, a senior US official has said.

"The focus of the discussions has not been on designating Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism, rather how to use other tools at our disposal to convince Pakistan that it is in its interest to crack down on terrorist groups," the administration official told PTI.

"Pakistan has a stark choice: Cooperate and enjoy the benefits of close relationship with the U.S. and the rest of the world, or face international isolation if it chooses not to change its behaviour," the official said in response to a question.

This past week, US President Donald Trump in an interview to Fox News, on twitter and in interaction with White House reporters accused Pakistan of doing nothing for the US in the fight against terrorism and reiterated that till the time Islamabad changes its behaviour his administration will continue to suspend all assistance to it.

"I want Pakistan to help us. We're no longer paying USD1.3 billion to Pakistan. We're paying them nothing because that's what they've done to help us. Nothing," President Trump told reporters at the White House on November 20.

And on November 18, in an interview to Fox News, Trump alleged that people in Pakistan knew that Osama bin Laden was living in a mansion near their garrison city of Abbottabad, but they did not tell the US and kept on accepting billions of dollars in aid.

At the same time, he said that his administration hopes to have a "good relationship" with Pakistan.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, his administration officials say they are looking at ways through which they can convince Pakistan to change its behaviour.

Last August when Trump announced his South Asia Policy, White House officials had listed out some of these tools, like reviewing the major non-NATO ally status, or visa ban on officials having links with designated terrorist groups, adopting a tough posture against Pakistan at major international forums like the International Monetary Fund.

In January this year, Trump had announced to suspend all its security assistance to Pakistan. Last week, Pentagon said that so far it has suspended USD1.66 billion in security assistance to Pakistan after Trump's January directive.

But the United States has not been thinking about designating Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism, a demand being made by several American lawmakers including those from the ruling Republican party.

Currently four countries have been designated as state sponsor of terrorism. These are Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria. Recent media reports suggests that US is considering Venezuela in this list.

However, in its latest Country Report on Terrorism, the State Department listed Pakistan among countries that provide safe havens to terrorists. President Trump and top US officials have expressed their frustration over the fact that Pakistan has not been taking concrete steps in this regard.
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