Pakistan has a long way to go before it can recover from its past policy of harboring militant groups
The new National Defense Act, 2018, fielded in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate makes reimbursements to Pakistan from the U.S. Coalition Support Fund (CSF) subject to Islamabad acting against the Haqqani Network inside Pakistan and “removes” a similar condition referencing Lashkar-e-Taiba. Now the U.S. Secretary of Defence, while okaying reimbursements of $700 million to Pakistan, will not mention Taiba. In the past if Pakistan didn’t meet the two conditions, it forfeited $350 million from the aid.
Not too long ago, Taiba was described by the United States as a partner of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Before he created Jamaatud Dawa, Hafiz Saeed was the patron of Taiba. He actually got a court to accept that he had nothing to do with Taiba despite his past affiliations as a leader of the Ahle Hadith with special contacts in South Arabia where he was trained as a religious scholar. Now Washington, likely convinced by Pakistan’s recent record against terrorist safe havens, has accepted that Taiba, as a terrorist organization active in Kashmir, is no longer operating in Afghanistan.
The International Crisis Group, in its Asia Report No. 95 (2005), counted the terrorist outfits fielded against India during the Kargil war: “It was on [General] Musharraf’s watch as Army Chief that Pakistan’s Kashmir jihad policy increased the ranks of Islamic extremists in the Northern Areas. In 1999 the Kargil conflict resulted in the influx of Sunni jihadi elements into the region. Extremist organizations like Sipah Sahaba Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Muhammad, Al-Ikhwan and Harkatul Mujahideen have since opened offices there. Places like Chilas and Gilgit have become the hub of Sunni jihadi training and anti-Shia activism.”
Pakistan has today embarked on its final journey away from the state’s involvement in terrorism in the region. But the fallout from the past is steadily haunting its future as a normal state.