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Pakistan Faces Rising Criticism over Inability to Curb Extremism and threat it poses to its Neighbours

Islamabad is also at odds with Washington and Kabul over Pakistan's support of Afghan militant groups

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FILE - Pakistani suspects allegedly associated with the Islamic State group wait to appear in an anti-terrorism court in Gujranwala, Pakistan, Dec. 29, 2015. VOA

Sept 23, 2016: As two U.S. lawmakers pursue legislation to designate Pakistan a terror state, Islamabad is facing the threat of increasing diplomatic isolation over its inability to curb homegrown militancy and the threat it poses to its neighbours.

The legislation, introduced this week by Republican Representatives Ted Poe of Texas and Dana Rohrabacher of California, accuses Pakistan of harbouring global terrorist leaders and supporting terror groups. Among those groups is the Haqqani network, a U.S.-designated terrorist entity that opposes the Afghanistan government and U.S.-led NATO forces in the country.

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“Not only is Pakistan an untrustworthy ally, Islamabad has also aided and abetted enemies of the United States for years,” the proposed legislation said. “From harbouring Osama bin Laden to its cozy relationship with the Haqqani network, there is more than enough evidence to determine whose side Pakistan is on in the war on terror. And it’s not America’s.”

FILE - Women chant slogans condemning Islamist terrorism during an anti-terror rally in Lahore, Pakistan, Jan. 16, 2015. VOA
FILE – Women chant slogans condemning Islamist terrorism during an anti-terror rally in Lahore, Pakistan, Jan. 16, 2015. VOA

Pakistan ‘a victim’

Pakistan accuses U.S. lawmakers of diplomatic theater, saying the harsh anti-Pakistani rhetoric belies that government’s efforts to root out extremism. Pakistani officials also say thousands of Pakistani lives have been lost in terror attacks.

“Pakistan is not supporting terrorism, it is rather a victim,” Rohail Dar, a leading member of the ruling Muslim League party, told VOA’s Urdu service. “Pakistan has suffered the most in the war against terrorism.”

In his speech before the United Nations on Wednesday, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said his government has a “comprehensive strategy of law enforcement and targeted military operations that has produced remarkable results and enabled Pakistan to turn the tide against terrorism.”

He did not address the issue of terrorist groups targeting neighbouring countries from Pakistan.

American lawmakers recently urged the U.S. government to cut off financial and military aid to Pakistan because its “military and intelligence services are still linked to terrorist groups.”

Facing isolation

While the U.S. bill has a long way to go before becoming law — a version of it must pass both houses of Congress and be signed by the president — Washington’s tough stance shows the level of global and regional isolation that Islamabad is facing, analysts said.

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“Pakistan has not satisfied the U.S. on the question of its alleged support to the Haqqani network, and that is deteriorating the relations with the U.S.,” Peshawar University professor Ijaz Khattak told VOA’s Deewa service. “Pakistan’s relations with Afghanistan also are not good. It has tensions with India.”

A demonstrator hits a poster of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during a protest organized by India’s main opposition Congress party against Sunday's attack at an Indian army base camp in Kashmir's Uri in Jammu, India, Sept. 21, 2016. VOA
A demonstrator hits a poster of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during a protest organized by India’s main opposition Congress party against Sunday’s attack at an Indian army base camp in Kashmir’s Uri in Jammu, India, Sept. 21, 2016. VOA

A demonstrator hits a poster of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during a protest organized by India’s main opposition Congress party against Sunday’s attack at an Indian army base camp in Kashmir’s Uri in Jammu, India, Sept. 21, 2016.

A deadly attack on Indian soldiers in Kashmir this week increased the tension between Pakistan and India to levels not seen since the terror attack on Mumbai in 2008.

India blames Pakistan for allowing the attack. Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh called Pakistan a terrorist state and said it “should be identified and isolated as such.”

The Pakistan government has rejected the allegations and accuses India of oppressing Kashmiris and violating their human rights.

U.S., Afghan opposition

Islamabad is also at odds with Washington and Kabul over Pakistan’s support of Afghan militant groups.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry asked Sharif, during a meeting this week on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, to prevent Pakistan from being used as a harbor for terrorists.

“We have repeatedly asked our neighboring country Pakistan to destroy the known terrorist safe havens, but we unfortunately are yet to witness any change in the situation,” Afghan Vice President Sarwar Danesh said Wednesday at the United Nations. “Terrorist attacks are being planned on Pakistani territory.”

Danesh’s comments came days after bombings in New York and New Jersey.

Ahmad Khan Rahami is taken into custody after a shootout with police Monday, Sept. 19, 2016. VOA
Ahmad Khan Rahami is taken into custody after a shootout with police Monday, Sept. 19, 2016. VOA

Ahmad Khan Rahami is taken into custody after a shootout with police Monday, Sept. 19, 2016.

The bombing suspect, Ahmad Khan Rahami, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Afghanistan, traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan several years ago. While in Pakistan, he reportedly spent time in Quetta and Karachi, which are considered hubs for the Taliban and other militant groups.

The two U.S. lawmakers are pushing the bill now “because of the recent Kashmir attack, though perhaps also coupled with the fact that the man accused of staging the recent New York City blasts had spent time in Pakistan,” said Michael Kugelman, an analyst at Washington’s Wilson Center, a global policy research group. “For these two congressmen, this man’s connections to Pakistan likely reinforced the fact that terrorism has many links to Pakistan.” (VOA)

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Iran Accuses CIA for spreading ‘Fake News’ about Tehran’s support to Al Qaeda

The document, part of nearly 47,000 documents released by the CIA, quoted the group's slain leader Osama bin Laden as saying: "Anyone who wants to strike America, Iran is ready to support him and help him with their frank and clear rhetoric."

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Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has posted a tweet after the release of a 19-page Al Qaeda report in Arabic, which claimed Iran supported the extremist group before the 9/11 attacks. VOA

Tehran, November 3, 2017 : Iran on Friday accused the CIA of spreading “fake news” about Tehrans support to the Al Qaeda, describing the claims as an attempt to “whitewash” the truth about the role US allies had in the September 11, 2001 attacks

“A record low for the reach of petrodollars: CIA & FDD fake news w/ selective Al Qaeda docs re: Iran can’t whitewash role of US allies in 9/11,” Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif wrote on his Twitter account on Friday.

Zarif posted the tweet after the release of a 19-page Al Qaeda report in Arabic, which claimed Iran supported the extremist group before the 9/11 attacks.

The document, part of nearly 47,000 documents released by the CIA, quoted the group’s slain leader Osama bin Laden as saying: “Anyone who wants to strike America, Iran is ready to support him and help him with their frank and clear rhetoric.”

It claimed that Iran and Al Qaeda could overlook their differences and join forces when it came to confronting the US.

The US government’s 9/11 Commission has made similar allegations, saying Iranian officials met Al Qaeda leaders in Sudan in either 1991 or early 1992.

Last year, a New York court ordered Iran to pay $7.5 billion in damages to the families of the 9/11 victims.

The release of the files comes as US President Donald Trump’s administration seeks to ramp up pressure on Iran, refusing to certify a landmark nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.

The Fars news agency, which is close to Iranian conservatives, said on Thursday that the selective publication of documents by the CIA related to Al Qaeda was part of efforts “to put pressure on Iran”. (IANS)

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Terror Has a New Name : Former al-Qaida Members Launch New Militant Group ‘Ansar al-Sharia Pakistan’

Inspired by Osama bin Laden, al-Qaida’s slain founder, the group has vowed to continue its struggle through “jihad” against “infidel and apostates”

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A Pakistani militant holds a rocket-propelled grenade in Shawal, in Pakistan's tribal region of Waziristan,

Karachi, September 11, 2017 : A new al-Qaida-inspired militant group, which has recently emerged in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi claims to act as a platform for militants who have grown disaffected with the Islamic State militant group (IS) in the country.

The group, Ansar al-Sharia Pakistan, was reportedly formed by two former al-Qaida members who had severed ties with the organization in early 2017. Since then, the group has been involved in several attacks in Karachi, according to Pakistani counterterrorism authorities.

“The Ansar al-Sharia group started killings in Karachi since the beginning of this year and claimed responsibility for killing an army officer on Faisal Highway [in Karachi],” Major General Mohammad Saeed, the head of Rangers paramilitary security force in Karachi, told local media. He added the group has been focusing attacks on “the police only.”

The group was allegedly created to operate as a platform for militants who have parted ways with IS in the country, it said in an online statement. It claimed to be active in several parts of the country.

“We give glad tidings to Muslim Ummah that a large number of Mujahideen from Karachi, Punjab and tribal areas are leaving ranks of IS and announce disassociation with [it],” the group said in an announcement through a Twitter account, adding that IS has “spread differences” and “secession instead of unity.”

The group has vowed to continue its struggle through “jihad” against “infidel and apostates.”

Though the newly-emerged group asserts no official affiliation with al-Qaida and other foreign militant organizations, the group said its ideology is inspired by Osama bin Laden, al-Qaida’s slain founder.

VOA was unable to independently verify the authenticity of the Twitter account.

According to the counterterrorism department of Karachi police, Ansar al-Sharia has a presence in areas between Sindh and Baluchistan provinces.

“Unfortunately, according to the names that have come up in the investigation, their kill team has three young men who have masters [degrees] in applied physics,” Maj. Gen. Saeed said.

Pakistani media reported the terror outfit also has female members. Police have reportedly arrested four women, including a doctor, suspected of membership in the group.

Pakistani authorities have vowed action to seize members of the group in the country, including in Karachi.

ALSO READ Study shows that Islamic State terror cells in Europe are led by former al-Qaida terrorists

A police officer has reportedly been arrested for links with an alleged Ansar-al-Sharia member in Karachi, Pakistani media reported.

Al-Qaida’s branch in South Asia, known as al-Qaida in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), has been active in the region. Several militant groups in Pakistan that had an ideological association with bin Laden’s al-Qaida, have pledged allegiance to AQIS.

Much of AQIS’s power is concentrated in Karachi and IS has also claimed presence in in Pakistan’s largest city. (VOA)

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#BalochGenocide: An Unfortunate Reality to which the World must Pay Attention to

The United Nations has failed to break the ice. Human right violations have failed to bring the attention of global organizations

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Balochistan Genocide
Pakistan is committing inhumane crimes against its own people in the Balochistan province creating an environment of genocide. Twitter
  • The Balochistan province of Pakistan is going through the worst Humanitarian crisis
  • The atrocities committed by the Pakistani forces as well insurgent groups have resulted in destruction of families of the Baloch community
  • It is important that the world community stands with Balochistan and investigate the human rights violations

Balochistan, August 18, 2017: The Balochistan province of Pakistan is in dire need of help from the international community. Ignored by its government at the center and oppressed by the military, the Baloch community is taking desperate measures to call for help from outside.

Balochistan has been an area of instability. Additionally, the coming of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is estimated to have adverse consequences for Balochistan.

ALSO READ: World Baloch Organisation Activist Azghar Baloch brings Human Rights Violations to the notice of International Community

The United Nations has failed to break the ice. Human right violations have failed to bring the attention of global organizations.

Abductions and murders surround the lives of Balochistan people. The Chairman of Human Rights Commission in Balochistan, Taj Baloch, has blamed the Pakistan army behind the Balochistan Genocide.

In Berlin, exiled Baloch activists and leaders organized an event titled ‘China’s One Belt One Road Initiative – It’s Adverse Impact on Balochistan & the region’ in which speakers expressed their concerns over the economic reform.

Even the World Balochistan organization has made serious attempts in gathering support for Balochistan from foreign nations. Recently, Azghar Baloch, an activist for the organization, made an appeal from outside the White House called on the international community to stand for the human rights of Baloch people.

Nawab Akbar Bugti was a strong opposer to Pakistan atrocities in Balochistan. He was vocal about the need for Balochistan to separate itself from the inhumane behavior of Pakistan. Nawab Bugti was assassinated on 26 August 2006 by the Pakistani military. To commemorate the anniversary of the martyr, Baloch Republican Party has called for a Balochistan wide strike.

This year when the G20 Summit was held in Germany, Baloch activists turned up outside the venue to protest for Baloch genocides and investigation into

– Compiled by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394


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