Washington: With more evidence emerging about Pakistani establishment`s close links with terror groups, the country fits into US standard of State Sponsors of Terrorism criteria in more than one way than that of the four nations which have been designated under this category so far.
The revelations during the ongoing trial of 26/11 suspect Tahawwur Hussein Rana in a Chicago court this past fortnight, and the information that has become public in the aftermath of the killing of Osama bin Laden in a safe house near Islamabad, has provided more evidence than ever to declare Pakistan as State Sponsor of Terrorism (SST) by the United States, well informed sources said.
According to the US, State Sponsors of Terrorism provide critical support to many non-state terrorist groups. Without state sponsors, these groups would have greater difficulty obtaining the funds, weapons, materials, and secure areas they require to plan and conduct operations.
Till date, the United States has designated four countries - Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria - as State Sponsors of Terrorism for several reasons, including providing physical safe haven and ideological support to members of terrorist organisations that are designated as Foreign Terrorist Organisations by the US (Cuba, Syria, Iran) and for continuing to permit US fugitives to live legally (Cuba).
The United States has also declared them State Sponsors of Terrorism for being principal supporter of groups that are implacably opposed to the Middle East peace process (Iran), provided weapons, training, and funding to terrorist organisations (Iran), unwilling to bring to justice senior al Qaeda members (Iran) and the existence of foreign fighter facilitation networks (Syria).
Pakistan fits into this American standard of State Sponsors of Terrorism criteria in more than one way, the sources said.
It provides physical safe haven and ideological support to members of terrorist organisations that are designated as Foreign Terrorist Organisation by the United States (Lashkar-e-Toiba, Hizbul Mujahideen etc); and for continuing to permit US fugitives and terrorists designated by the UN to live in the country (Osama bin Laden, Dawood Ibrahim
Further it is principal supporter of groups that are implacably opposed to the US role in Afghanistan and a general anti-Indian stance (Haqqani network, LeT, HM etc), provides weapons, training and funding to terrorist organisations (LeT as revealed by David Headley in his testimony in the Chicago Court) and is unwilling to bring to justice senior al-Qaeda members (Osama bin Laden was living peacefully in Abbottabad for five years).
Not only this, in Pakistan there is also the existence of foreign fighter facilitation networks (all terrorist plots that have targeted the US, including the Times Square attempted bombing, Shoe Bomber etc were traced back to training in Pakistan and similarly, existence of large number of foreign fighters for al Qaeda in Pakistan training camps have been found).