Speaking during the 9/11 Memorial Observance at the Pentagon, US President Donald Trump reiterated his resolve to crack down on terror safe havens. Warning those who shelter terrorists and use terror as a policy tool, Trump warned that the “American forces were relentlessly pursuing and destroying the enemies of all civilized people, like we’d never seen before.”
Remembering the horror of the dark day when multiple terror attacks at the World Trade Centre, the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania sixteen years ago left 2977 dead and changed America and the world forever giving it organized, transnational terror organizations, Trump said that his administration was ensuring that terrorists never again had a safe haven to launch attacks against America.
Terming the attack on September 11, 2001 even worse than the attack on Pearl Harbour as it targeted civilians, Trump reassured American that terrorists have nowhere to hide, “We are making plain to these savage killers that there is no dark corner beyond our reach, no sanctuary beyond our grasp, and nowhere to hide anywhere on this very large Earth.”
REMINDER TO PAKISTAN
This is yet another stinging reminder to nations like Pakistan that harbour terror groups and employ terror as state policy. Trump has named Pakistan directly, on multiple occasions.
While unveiling his government’s Afghanistan centric South Asia policy last month, he had repeated his stand about Pakistan as a safe haven for terrorists, had slammed it for supporting terrorists and had sought to increase India’s role in Afghanistan.
Earlier, Modi-Trump Joint Statement in June called Pakistan a safe haven for terrorists and the term made its way to the US Country Report on Terrorism in July. Trump’s warning to Pakistan tells how miffed he is with the country. While detailing his South Asia policy, Trump slammed Pakistan and warned that the US will no longer be silent about Pakistan’s double-dealings. He demanded that Pakistan’s attitude of doublespeak had to change immediately.
Pakistan was still reeling under the pressure of an increasingly demanding US, the only superpower of the world and a major aid provider to Pakistan, to crack down on terror networks in real and tangible terms, when another powerful bloc of countries, the BRICS, alluded to Pakistan to rein in the terror groups operating from its soil. It was a double whammy for Pakistan because the censure came from a multilateral platform which had its all weather ally China as one of founding members besides India, Russia and Brazil.
The BRICS Declaration, while directly naming Pakistan based terror groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, said, “Recalling the primary leading role and responsibility of states in preventing and countering terrorism, we stress the necessity to develop international cooperation, in accordance with the principles of international law, including that of sovereign equality of states and non-interference in their internal affairs.” The BRICS Summit was held in the first week of this month in China.
INTERNATIONAL PRESSURE ON PAK TERROR
Increasing international pressure on terror infrastructure in Pakistan has created a sense of panic in the country’s ruling establishment. Though they deny it, their contradicting responses confirm it. First they rejected the BRICS Declaration. Then Pakistan’s Foreign Minister admitted presence of terror groups terming then an embarrassment for his country.
While Pakistan’s Foreign Minister was being realist and honest, its army chief chose to preach the world again when he said that “if Pakistan had not done enough in the war against terror, then no country in the world had done anything.” So it didn’t come as a surprise when Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi today warned the US approach on Pakistan, cutting military aid and sanctioning Pakistani officials would be counter-productive.