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Decimate terror groups if you want peace with India, White House tells Pakistan

WASHINGTON: Amidst new peace overtures from the Imran Khan government after the re-election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the White House has made it clear to Pakistan that the onus for sustained peace in South Asia was on it by putting the terror groups out of business.

Khan has written a second letter to Prime Minister Modi after his re-election, saying that Pakistan wants talks with India to resolve all differences, including on the Kashmir issue.

The Pakistani premier said talks between the two nations were the only solution to help both countries’ people overcome poverty and that it was important to work together for regional development.

However, India has rejected Pakistan’s offer of talks, maintaining that terror and talks cannot go together and said that no bilateral meeting has been planned between the two premiers on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Summit (SCO) in Kyrgyzstan’s capital Bishkek on June 13-14.

“What the United States is really looking for in Pakistan are arrests and prosecutions and not allowing these groups to operate and move around freely, acquire weapons, cross into India, carry out attacks,” a senior White House official told Press.

The United States is looking for sustained and irreversible steps that shut down their operations, asserted the official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“Until these groups are put out of business, it’s going to be very difficult for India and Pakistan to achieve sustained peace. So the onus is on Pakistan to ensure that they crack down on these groups,” said the White House official responding to a question on the US assessment of the Indo-Pak tension.

A senior State Department official said that in the wake of the Pulwama terrorist attack, the US has seen Pakistan taking some initial actions against designated terrorist organisations and more steps to enhance counter-terrorism financing measures.

“We welcome those steps,” the official said.

“We have always agreed that the underlying causes of the tensions between India and Pakistan needed to be addressed and the underlying tension has been the role of terrorist forces that have sanctuary on Pakistani soil. So we certainly encourage the creation of an environment that will lead to a dialogue,” the official said.

Pakistan needs to take practical steps to demonstrate that it is countering terrorist financing and extremists that are located on their territory, a senior State Department Official told reporters last week.

Paris-based international terror financing watchdog FATF in June last year placed Pakistan onto its watch list in a bid to push the country to halt support for militant groups.

In February, the FATF decided to continue the ‘Grey’ listing of Pakistan for its failure to stop funding of terrorist groups such as the JeM, the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD).

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