US suspends over 1.1 billion USD assistance to Pakistan

Toughening its stance, US suspends over 1.1 billion USD assistance to Pakistan 

Toughening its stance, the US suspended more than USD 1.15 billion security assistance to Pakistan for failing to take “decisive actions” against terror groups like the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network operating from its soil.

The freezing of all security assistance to Pakistan comes after President Donald Trump in a New Year’s Day tweet accused Pakistan of giving nothing to the US but “lies and deceit” and providing “safe haven” to terrorists in return for USD 33 billion aid over the last 15 years.

The suspended amount also include USD 255 million in Foreign Military Funding (FMF) for the fiscal year 2016 as mandated by the Congress.

In addition, the Department of Defense has suspended the entire USD 900 million of the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) money to Pakistan for the fiscal year 2017 and other unspent moUS suspends over USD 1.1 bn assistance to Pak over terror groupsney from previous fiscal years.

“Today we can confirm that we are suspending national security assistance only, to Pakistan at this time until the Pakistani government takes decisive action against groups, including the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network,” State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert told reporters.

“We consider them (terror groups) to be destabilising the region and also targeting US personnel. The US will suspend that kind of security assistance to Pakistan,” she said.

The US, she said, will not be delivering military equipment or transfer security-related funds to Pakistan unless it is required by law.

In August, while unveiling his new South Asia strategy, Trump had accused Pakistan of giving “safe haven to agents of chaos, violence, and terror,” and said the time had come “for Pakistan to demonstrate its commitment to civilisation, order, and to peace”.

Referring to Trump’s new strategy, Nauert said despite a sustained high-level engagement by Trump administration with the government of Pakistan, the Taliban and the Haqqani Network continue to find sanctuary inside Pakistan as they plot to destabilise Afghanistan and also attack the US and allied personnel.

Department of Defence Spokesperson Lt Col Mike Andrews told PTI that National Defense Authorisation Act 2017 provides up to USD 900 million for Pakistan in the CSF.

Of these funds, USD 400 million can only be released if the Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis certifies that the Pakistan government has taken specific actions against the Haqqani Network.

“At this stage all Fiscal Year 17 CSF have been suspended, so that’s the entire amount of USD 900 million,” Andrews said.

During an interaction with Pentagon reporters, Defence Secretary Jim Mattis did not respond to question if he was in favour of cutting off the aid to Pakistan.

“I prefer not to address that right now because it’s obviously still being formulated as policy. But I’ll give my advice on it to the president. I also agree on some confidentiality there,” he said.

According to a senior State Department official, no decision has been taken on the fate of USD 255 million security assistance to Pakistan for the fiscal year 2017. The deadline for that is September 30 this year.

Mattis along with the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have travelled to Pakistan in recent months to deliver tough message to the leadership there. So, this action should not come as a surprise to them, Nauert said.

“They may say it’s a surprise, but what is no surprise is that the President has expressed his concerns, Secretary Tillerson has expressed his concerns, as has Secretary Mattis, and I imagine many other government officials having those conversations with Pakistan,” Nauert said.

Now, the money that has been suspended at this time does not mean that it will be suspended forever, she said.

“Pakistan has the ability to get this money back, in the future, but they have to take decisive action. They have to take decisive steps,” she added.

“People have long asked, why don’t you do more about Pakistan, and I think this sort of answers that question. Obviously, Pakistan is important, an important relationship to the US, because together we can work hard to combat terrorism. Perhaps no other country has suffered more from terrorism than Pakistan and many other countries in that part of the region,” she said.

“They understand that, but still they aren’t taking the steps that they need to take in order to fight terrorism,” she said.

In an interaction with reporters, two senior state department officials insisted that such a move is not a punishment, but to provide an incentive to Pakistan to take more action against terrorist groups.

“We have not done anything that’s irreversible here. All this funding is available to Pakistan, if they undertake to take the measures that we’ve asked of them,” a senior administration official said in response to a question.

“Pakistanis have repeatedly said we don’t care about this money. What matters I think to the Pakistani’s is that it is the symbolism of doing this that it represents a deterioration of our relationship that they care about a great deal,” the official said.

“So we were hoping that this is an incentive that they don’t want to see this relationship deteriorate any further and that they’re going to commit to working with us to try to find a way to put it on a more solid footing,” the official added.

The US and others have long complained that Pakistan gives safe haven to the Afghan Taliban and their allies, the Haqqani network, allowing them to carry out cross-border attacks in Afghanistan. Pakistan denies allegations but President Trump has escalated the criticism against the country since he took office.

The Pakistanis say they have suffered great losses from the longstanding war against Islamist networks and are furious that Trump has failed to acknowledge the role they have played.

Yesterday, the state department accused Pakistan of severe violations of religious freedom. It announced that it was placing Pakistan on a special watch list, pursuant to 2016 legislation. The step does not carry any serious consequences.

-PTI | 05 January 2018 | Washington

Demonetisation destroyed terror, underworld, drug mafia: Modi

Demonetisation has destroyed terror, underworld, drug mafia: Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a ”parivartan maha” rally in Dehradun, Uttarakhand, said Demonetisation has destroyed terror, underworld, drug mafia.

Demonetisation

Following are excerpts from his speech:

* Uttarakhand is the land of Gods and the land of the brave (since Uttarakhand makes a large contribution to the armed forces).

* The large number of people present here is a sign that Uttarakhand will not wait anymore for development [& will vote the BJP to power].

* The foundation laying ceremony for the all-weather road project today is a tribute to the people who lost their lives in the 2013 Uttarakhand disaster.

* The all-weather road project is dedicated to all the people of the country who wish to travel to the Ganga and the shrines of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri.

* The Rs. 12,000 crore that will be spent on the project will bring in employment for youth of Uttarakhand.

* Tourism is the main source of the State’s economy. Developing resources to enhance tourism in Uttarakhand will work for the benefit of the State and we wish to work on it.

* We wish to make Uttarakhand ia State where people are not forced to move to over-crowded cities in search of employment.

* Our rural electrification plan is not for the rich. It is for the poor.

* I have worked in Uttarakhand for years as an [RSS] worker and I’m aware of the difficult life of the hills. Therefore, we took on the responsibility to distribute cooking gas cylinders to the women of Uttarakhand for smoke free cooking. Is this scheme for the benefit of the rich?

On one rank one pension

The demand for OROP was a long-pending demand. However, they [the Congress, when it was in power] gave Rs. 500 crore for OROP. They made a fool of the people. Rs. 10,000 crore was needed for it. We have provided Rs. 6,600 crore so far and the rest will be provided soon. Thousands of Uttarakhand residents are beneficiaries of the money that we have provided under OROP.

”Have you made me a PM for cutting ribbons and lighting lamps? You have entrusted me with the work of a watchman. But objections are being raised when I am doing my duty, the duty of a watchman…. My fight against black money and corruption is on.

”The money of the poor that was looted by the rich must be returned to the people of the country. But, the habits of the corrupt don’t go easily. They used other means to exchange the old 500 and 1,000 rupee notes. But, they are being caught now. The people of the country have supported and protected me, otherwise I don’t know what they [the corrupt] would have done to me by now.

”I know that the people of the country had to undergo a lot of trouble [because of demonetisation] and I am indebted for the support that the people have given me.

”The world of terrorism, underworld, drug mafia was destroyed due to demonetisation.

”I am fighting to make the honest people more powerful. It will be a long fight and I need the support of the people of Uttarakhand too to win the fight [against loot and corruption]

”Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji gave us Uttarakhand. To make it better is my responsibility.”

DECEMBER 27, 2016

India calls for action against LeT, JeM; warns Pakistan

India calls for action against Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed; warns Pakistan on terror

India calls for action against Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed; warns Pakistan on terror

India has renewed its demand for international action against terror outfits Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and “their shadowy supporters”.

Denouncing the two organisations, whose leadership is based in Pakistan, as affiliates of al Qaeda, India’s Permanent Representative Syed Akbaruddin told the United Nations Security Council that it was imperative to take action against the support they get from outside.

In an implied criticism of China, he blamed the “split” in the UN bodies that mete out sanctions on terrorist organisations for the world body’s inability to deal with the terrorism.

China has blocked India’s efforts to have international sanctions imposed on Pakistan-based JeM chief Masood Azhar by a committee that takes action against al-Qaeda and its affiliates.

Azhar was behind the attack on the Pathankot air force base this year, according to the NIA chargesheet.

As a member of the Security Council, China has also provided cover for Pakistan releasing on bail Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, the LeT commander who masterminded the 2008 attack on Mumbai which killed more than 160 people. He was already on the UN list of those facing sanctions as terrorists.

“We need to address, as an imperative, the support that terrorist organizations like the Taliban, Haqqani Network, Daesh, aI-Qaeda and its designated affiliates such as Lashkar-e-Toiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammed which operate entirely outside the fabric of international law draw from their shadowy supporters outside Afghanistan,” Akbaruddin said.

“While the Taliban sanctions regime remains split for more than five years, the designated terrorist group makes concerted effort to capture and hold territory,” he said. “Therefore, for numerous Afghan women, men and children there is no respite from the plague of terrorism.”

The international community has to make “it clear that we will neither roll over in the face of terror, nor will we of allow the roll back of the achievements of the resolute people and government of Afghanistan in the last decade and a half,” he said.

Quoting Rumi, Akbaruddin also warned Pakistan, “What you sow will bear fruit. If you have any sense my friend, don’t plant anything but peace.”

-December 20, 2016, United Nations

United State won’t hesitate to act against terror groups operating from Pak soil

United State won’t hesitate to act against terror groups operating from Pak soil 

In a blunt message, the United State has warned Pakistan that it will not hesitate to act alone, when necessary, to disrupt and destroy terror networks as the country’s powerful spy agency Inter- Services Intelligence was not acting against all terror groups operating on its soil.

United State

“The problem is that there are forces within the Pakistani government ?- specifically in Pakistan’s Inter- Services Intelligence or ISI — that refuse to take similar steps against all the terrorist groups active in Pakistan, tolerating some groups -? or even worse,” Adam Szubin, Acting Under Secretary on Countering the Financing of Terrorism, told a Washington audience.

“We continue to urge our partners in Pakistan to go after all terrorist networks operating in their country. We stand ready to help them. But there should be no doubt that while we remain committed to working with Pakistan to confront ongoing terrorist financing and operations, the US will not hesitate to act alone, when necessary, to disrupt and destroy these networks,” Szubin warned.

In his remarks at the Paul H Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Szubin said at the same time, Pakistan has been — and remains — a critical counterterrorism partner in many respects.

“Of course, Pakistanis are themselves often the victims of brutal terrorist attacks on schools, markets, and mosques, and the list unfortunately goes on. And in the face of such violence, Pakistan has in some ways pushed back,” Szubin said.

“Pakistan has achieved success in its ongoing operations against traditional terrorist safe havens in northwest Pakistan. It has officially designated ISIL as a terrorist organisation. And it has gone after the funding and operational capabilities of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP,” he said.

But the ISI problem of supporting terrorist groups continues, he said. “This is a distinction we cannot stand for,” Szubin asserted.

The US has been saying that Pakistan has not yet placed adequate pressure on the Haqqani Network of militants to prevent them from plotting deadly cross-border attacks in war- torn Afghanistan.

Afghan authorities allege leaders of the Haqqani group, which is fighting alongside the Taliban, are directing high- profile attacks, particularly in the capital, Kabul, from their sanctuaries on Pakistani soil, with the covert support of the country’s intelligence operatives.

There is not adequate pressure being put on the Haqqanis” by the Pakistan government, The commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson had said last month.

“The Haqqanis operationally have been able to continue to conduct operations inside Afghanistan. They constitute the primary threat to Americans, to coalition members and to Afghans, especially in and around Kabul,” he said.

Pakistani authorities routinely deny the presence of any sanctuaries and insist counter-terrorism military operations have targeted and uprooted all militant infrastructures on their side of the border.

-PTI, October 23, 2016

Uri terror attack: NIA registers case

Uri terror attack: NIA registers case

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) today registered a case to probe the terror attack at the Army installation in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir in which 18 soldiers were killed and dozens others injured after four Pakistani militants stormed the base.
The NIA took over the investigation from the Jammu and Kashmir Police, which had registered a case on Sunday, and began probe by collecting evidence available with the Army formation at Uri, 102 kms from here.
Besides the arms and ammunition recovery, two mobile sets were recovered from the four terrorists belonging to Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group and two Global Positioning Systems (GPS).
Official sources said the NIA team, which was now camping at Uri, would collect the DNA samples of the four unidentified terrorists and their pictures would be shown to Jaish cadres lodged in various jails of the state as well as other parts of the country.
Two of the four bodies are charred below the waist, they said.
The sources said while one GPS was damaged due to the fire, the other was being examined with the help of technical experts to ascertain the route taken by the terrorists and whether some help was extended to them by any local.
The place where the attack took place is located barely 6 kms from the Line of Control.
The NIA team would prepare a dossier and may make a formal request to Pakistan once the identity of the four was ascertained, the sources said.
Army has also instituted an inquiry into the attack with preliminary investigation suggesting the terrorists had entered the area at least a day before mounting the brazen assault.
The inquiry besides ascertaining lapses, if any, would also suggest measures to prevent such attacks in the future as Pakistani-based groups were indulging more in “shallow infiltration”, which means that terrorists strike the first available installation after crossing the Line of Control.
The toll in the attack had yesterday risen to 18 with one more army man succumbing to injuries in Sunday’s attack
India had reacted strongly to the deadliest attack on the Army in Jammu and Kashmir in quarter-century-old insurgency with Prime Minister Narendra Modi strongly condemning it.
-20 September 2016 | PTI | Srinagar