Islamabad not taking action against terror groups: US State department
Washington, June 3: Terrorist safe havens not only continue to exist in the tribal areas of Pakistan, but also militants are able to openly raise funds from heavily populated areas, the US today said alleging that Islamabad is not taking action against terror groups like Haqqani network and Lashkar-e-Taiba.
As a result, Pakistan-based terrorist groups continue to conduct terrorist attacks inside India and Afghanistan, the State Department said in its annual ‘Country Reports on Terrorism – 2015’, which is mandated by Congress.
“In 2015, an assortment of terrorist groups, to include the Haqqani Network, attempted to hide in or operate from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan, a mountainous region along Pakistan’s northwest border with Afghanistan,” the State Department said.
It said some UN-designated terrorist groups, such as Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) affiliates Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation, were able to raise funds and hold rallies in Pakistan.
LeT and JuD leader, Hafiz Saeed, who is also a UN-designated terrorist, was able to make frequent public appearances in support of the organization’s objectives, which were covered by the Pakistani media, for much of the year.
“In September, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Agency prohibited media coverage of LeT and affiliated groups, although the groups continued to recruit and operate around the country. Despite JuD and FiF’s proscription under UN sanctions regimes, the Pakistani government affirmed in December that neither organization was banned in Pakistan,”
the State Department said.
India, the State Department said continued to experience terrorist attacks, including operations launched by Maoist insurgents and transnational groups based in Pakistan.
Indian authorities continued to blame Pakistan for cross-border attacks in Jammu and Kashmir.
In July, India experienced a terrorist attack in Gurdaspur, Punjab; the first in Punjab state since the 1990s, the report said.
Over the course of 2015, the Indian government sought to deepen counterterrorism cooperation with the US.
President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi continued to prioritize counterterrorism cooperation during Obama’s visit to India in January and Modi’s visit to Washington in September.
The Indian government closely monitored the domestic threat from IS and other terrorist organisations, it said.
The State Department said Pakistan is slow in taking action against 2008 Mumbai attack perpetrators.
“Anti-Terrorism Courts had limited procedures for obtaining or admitting foreign evidence. The trial of seven suspects accused in the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack was ongoing at year’s end, with many witnesses for the prosecution remaining to be called by the court,” it said.
“Security concerns and procedural issues resulted in a slow pace of trial proceedings,” the State Department said.
In December 2014, the court granted bail to the lead defendant, alleged Mumbai attack planner and LeT operational commander Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi.
Lakhvi was released from prison on bail in April 2015 and the government of Pakistan reports he remained under house arrest at the end of 2015, it added.
According to the State Department, money transfer systems persisted throughout much of Pakistan, especially along the border with Afghanistan, and may be abused by drug traffickers and terrorist financiers operating in the cross-border area.
While Pakistani authorities did report having frozen assets of UN-designated entities during 2015, the amount was unclear.
The US government was not informed of any successful terrorism financing prosecutions in 2015.