We are disappointed with the U.S. State Department’s Annual Country Report on Terrorism for 2019, which is self-contradictory and selective in its characterization of Pakistan’s efforts for countering terrorism and terrorist financing.
While the Report recognizes that Al Qaeda has been seriously degraded in the region, it neglects to mention Pakistan’s crucial role in decimating Al Qaeda, thereby diminishing the threat that the terrorist group once posed to the world.
Similarly, the Report acknowledges the sharp decrease in the incidence of terrorist attacks in Pakistan. However, it neglects to explain that this was only possible because Pakistan’s resolute counter-terrorism operations have targeted proscribed groups and outfits without discrimination.
Pakistan is fully aware of its responsibilities as a sovereign state. We reject any insinuation about any safe haven. Pakistan will not allow any group or entity to use its territory against any country. On the contrary, it is Pakistan that faces the threat of terrorism from externally based and foreign sponsored groups, like the TTP, ISIS-K and others. The Report is again either silent or vague on the origins and locations of these terrorist groups.
Pakistan remains committed to fulfilling its obligations under the UNSC 1267 sanctions regime for the freezing of assets and denial of funds and economic resources to all designated entities and individuals. In recent months, Pakistan has prosecuted and convicted the leadership of several proscribed groups, which has been acknowledged by the United States elsewhere but only merit a passing mention in the Report.
Pakistan also continues to implement the FATF Action Plan, and has undertaken wide-ranging and systemic reforms to that end. While it notes the progress made by Pakistan under the Action Plan, the Report did not capture the political commitment, revamping of Pakistan’s AML/CFT regime, and our consistent and sustainable actions which have also been recognized by FATF.
Finally, the Report fails to acknowledge the full extent of Pakistan’s support for the Afghan peace process, which has created a historic opportunity for lasting peace in the region. Pakistan’s positive contribution and facilitation of U.S.-Taliban direct talks culminating in the Peace Agreement of 29 February 2020 are widely acknowledged, including by the U.S. and its leadership. Pakistan hopes that future U.S. reports will fully acknowledge the entire spectrum of Pakistan’s counter-terrorism efforts and present a fair and correct perspective of this global threat.