Washington: The US should consider branding
Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism and raise the issue
at the UN Security Council if Islamabad does not become "a
full partner" in the war against terror, a top Bush-era
diplomat has said, days after the killing of Osama bin Laden.
The fact that bin Laden lived in a luxury compound near
Pakistan`s military academy in Abbottabad "raises disturbing
questions about the possible nexus between Pakistan`s security
apparatus, al Qaeda and other Islamic extremists," said Zalmay
Khalilzad, ex-US Ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and the UN.
he claimed that as in the case of the Bush regime, the
Obama administration`s approach has not been decisive enough
to produce a fundamental change in Pakistani policy with
regard to terrorism.
"Islamabad wants to keep the pipeline of American
assistance flowing while limiting US anti-terror operations in
Pakistan, particularly the drone attacks.
"It is also escalating pressure on US forces in
Afghanistan by, among other things, allowing factories to
operate in places like Chaman that are producing improvised
explosive devices ... Its overall design seeks to turn its
neighbour into a Pakistani satrapy," he alleged.
Now, there may be an opportunity to bring about a change
in Pakistani policy with respect to cooperating more fully
with the US, he said, adding the raid against bin Laden`s
compound by US commandos has put Pakistan on the defensive.
"With evidence likely to emerge that the Pakistani
military may have shielded bin Laden, Pakistani leaders may be
more susceptible to American pressure than they have been at
any time since immediately after 9/11," he said.
In case, Pakistan does not cooperate in the war against
terrorism, Khalilzad said the Obama Administration can
increase the pressure on Islamabad.
"We could expose information that we already have and are
likely to obtain on Pakistan`s conduct in relations to
terrorists, including bin Laden and others," he said.
"This rollout could be accompanied by demands for an
international investigation into the relationship between the
Pakistani regime and the entire range of militant groups that
it harbours and supports – al Qaeda, the Taliban, the Haqqani
network and other extremist and terrorist groups," he said.
Also, the US might expand its policy of unilateral air or
special forces strikes to cover the leadership and sanctuaries
of insurgents operating against US in Afghanistan, he added.
The US has "myriad points of leverage that we should keep
in reserve. These include blocking IMF funding that is crucial
for Pakistan`s economic stability," he said.
"The administration can designate Pakistan as a state
sponsor of terrorism and raise the issue in front of the
Security Council and other international forums. And it can
also bolster ties with Pakistan`s chief rival, India. All of
these steps are risky and should be exercised only in the most
extreme of circumstances," Khalilzad said.