US bill to designate Pakistan as a sponsor of terrorism: Boost for India’s anti-terror drive


India’s strategy of isolating Pakistan in the aftermath of the Uri terror attack has struck a powerful chord in the US. A day after US Secretary of State John Kerry chastised Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and asked him to prevent terrorists from using his country as safe havens, two American legislators introduced a legislation in the US Congress to designate Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism.nawaz2

The bill, H.R 6069 or the Pakistan State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation Act, calls upon the US administration to make a formal assessment on the matter within four months of its passage.

The bill was moved by Congressman Ted Poe from Texas, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, and Congressman Dana Rohrabacher of California, who is also known as a strong proponent of the Baluchistan cause.

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The move to brand Pakistan as a terrorist state is seen as a triumph of Indian diplomacy as External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj heads to the US on a concerted drive to corner Pakistan on account of its alleged complicity in the Uri terror attack in north Kashmir, which killed 18 Indian soldiers.

“Not only is Pakistan an untrustworthy ally, Islamabad has also aided and abetted enemies of the United States for years. From harbouring Osama bin Laden to its cosy 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,” Mr Poe said. “It is time we stop paying Pakistan for its betrayal and designate it for what it is: a state sponsor of terrorism,” said Mr Poe. Mr Poe’s remarks underlines growing global support for India’s pitch for sanctioning Pakistan for its role in promoting and sponsoring terrorism.

nawaz1The bill is seen as a huge setback for Mr Sharif as he gears up to make a speech in the UNGA, in which he is expected to highlight India’s alleged human rights abuses in Jammu and Kashmir. On September 19, US Secretary of State John Kerry rebuffed Mr Sharif and conveyed to him the imperative need for Pakistan to prevent all terrorists from using Pakistani territory as safe havens. “The Prime Minister and Secretary Kerry expressed strong concern with recent violence in Kashmir – particularly the army base attack – and the need for all sides to reduce tensions,” said US State Department Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner after the meeting between Mr Kerry and Mr Sharif.

The US’ admonition of Pakistan underscores Washington’s growing wariness with Islamabad’s systematic duplicity on terrorism, and will bolster India’s drive to isolate Pakistan in the international community.