The article originally appeared on India Today.

After placing Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD)’s Hafiz Saeed under house arrest on January 30, Pakistan has now banned his new terror front Tehreek-e-Azadi-Jammu & Kashmir (TAJK).

JuD was declared a terrorist outfit by the US in 2014 and and was again put under the watch list on January 27. The Pakistan’s National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) put TAJK on the list of proscribed organisations on June 8, forcing Saeed to run his activities under the TAJK banner. Hafiz Saeed had adopted the name JuD after its terror outfit, Laskar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) that basically perpetrates terror in India, was banned by Pakistan on 14 January 2002 under international pressure.

However, it did not affect him. In December 2008, the UN Security Council, under its Resolution 1267, imposed sanctions on JuD and Hafiz Saeed for supporting Al Qaeda and Taliban. India had named Hafiz Saeed, LeT and JuD as the perpetrators of the series of terrorist attacks in Mumbai in November 2008. Since then there has been an unending drama of Hafiz Saeed being put under house arrest or detained cursorily before being set free even if the US declared a bounty of USD 10 million on his head in 2012.

Things took a turn after Donald Trump was elected president in the United States. The US clearly told Pakistan to act against JuD after its name prominently figured in the report of the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering. If Pakistan failed to comply to this it would be put on the list of blacklisted countries in the International Cooperative Review Group (ICRG). That would make it necessary for Pakistan to put a formal request each time it went about transacting any business through any of the international financial institutions.

Left with no other option, Pakistan had to put Hafiz Saeed under house arrest on January 30. Even if symbolic, it made a huge difference that we can see now with TAJK ban, as Donald Trump is completing six months in office. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump in a joint statement, during Indian PM’s US tour, labeled Pakistan a terror haven. Not to mention the US has designated Pakistan-based Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin as a global terrorist.

Pakistan, probably, was expecting all this to happen, and therefore would have decided to act on Hafiz Saeed’s new terror front before it became another international rallying point against it.



The article originally appeared on India Today.

US President Donald Trump is scheduled to host South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the White House on June 29 and 30. It is the first bilateral summit between two close allies after both countries got new presidents. Trump took oath in January while Moon was elected only last month after mid-term polls necessitated by the impeachment of former South Korean President Park Geun-hye.

The meeting is expected to be eclipsed by three issues, North Korea, China and the deployment of US missile defense system in South Korea.

If the Trump administration had termed the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to America in April historic, the expectation that China will exert its influence to rein in North Korea was one of the major factors apart from some trade deals signed that Trump said would help American businesses and would create jobs. China is the only big market for North Korea and it accounts for over two-thirds of total North Korean trade.

But that expectation has become frustration in just two months. Donald Trump has realized that China will not help in reining in North Korea which reflected in his tweet last week, “While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi and China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried!” But what belies this line that “he knows that China at least tried” is the fact* that out of growing frustration over the Chinese inaction on North Korea and bilateral ties, Trump is thinking to take punitive action by imposing tariff on imports like Chinese steel.

North Korea has already conducted almost a dozen missile tests this year and is preparing to conduct another nuclear test aimed at producing nuclear weapons. The threat from the rogue state has reached to new heights under the present dictator Kim Jong-un so much so that the US had to deploy its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-ballistic missile defense system, inviting strong Chinese protests which sees the presence of the system on the Korean peninsula, in its backyard, breach of its sovereignty and a security threat. China has been lashing out at the US and South Korea for it.

And the optics of its deployment has also been a thorny issue for Trump as well as for Moon. While Trump has demanded South Korea pay $1 billion for THAAD deployment, Moon has termed the system which went live last month a total failure of democracy.

While campaigning, Moon who is seen as a liberal having soft approach towards China, South Korea’s largest trading partner, and having a conciliatory tone towards North Korea, had promised to review the THAAD agreement by his predecessor. Moon, in fact, ordered a probe last month after it emerged that four more missile launchers were added to the THAAD system in South Korea. South Korea maintains that the US asked only for land and support infrastructure for THAAD deployment and all other cost was to be borne by the US only.