Commentary | August 09, 2010

Still Surreal on Pakistan

Writing for livemint.com, W. Pal Sidhu analyzes the recently released Country Reports on Terrorism 2009, focusing on the U.S. assessment of terrorist affiliations. Its biggest failing, Sidhu maintains, is that it overlooks the threat of terrorism in Pakistan.

“The report, mandated by the U.S. Congress, is supposed to present an authoritative assessment of the threat posed to the U.S. by non-U.S. terrorist groups as well as countries designated as ‘state sponsors of terrorism.’”  Sidhu points out.  However, the report effectively absolves Pakistan from its known compliance with terrorist groups.

In contrast, the report lists Sudan as a “state sponsor of terrorism” based on the presence of three banned terrorist groups in Sudanese territory.  “By this logic, Pakistan—home to at least five of the banned terrorist organizations, including Al Qaeda, and consistently found wanting in its ability to rid its territory of these groups—would be an obvious candidate for that label,” explains Sidhu.  In addition, the report fails to acknowledge the fragility of the Pakistani state after its devastating floods

Sidhu points out that the U.S. war in Afghanistan could be the reason Pakistan escaped severe criticism, and ultimately the label of a “state sponsor of terrorism.”

“Even the most benign interpretation that the State Department was blissfully unaware of Pakistan’s links with terrorism is troubling, especially as this was public knowledge even before WikiLeaks,” Sidhu concludes.  “While all of this might well explain the surrealist nature of the report, it cannot justify it.”

Click here to read Sidhu’s article on livemint.com