Washington: The United States is considering designating several Pakistani-based extremist outfits as Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO), so that overseas travel and financial restrictions could be imposed on them.
Topping the list of such organisations is the Pakistani Taliban or the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Haqqani network, State Department spokesman PJ Crowley said yesterday. However, he refrained from giving any timeline as to when the sanctions on these organisations would be slapped.
"We are evaluating a number of entities in Pakistan. There`s a legal process and legal criteria that has to be met. This is something that we`re looking into. We`ll make a determination one way or the other when we`re finished," Crowley said.
Responding to question about the demand being made by Senators Carl Levin and Jack Reed that TTP and Haqqani network be designated as a FTO, Crowley said nothing is holding the State Department from doing so, except for the legalities involved.
"Obviously there is an impact on any group that is designated as a FTO. It has very definite financial and legal implications. It`s one of the reasons why there`s a deliberate process involved," he said.
"Whether you`re talking about the Haqqani network, whether you`re talking about the Pakistani Taliban or any group anywhere in the world, we take this responsibility seriously. We designate individuals and groups on an ongoing basis," Crowley said.
"We have evaluated these groups for quite some time. We evaluate not only in terms of what they`ve done, the threat they represent to the US and, you know, the prospective, you know, policy impact that this has. So if the question is, are we looking into the Haqqani Network, we are. Have we reached a determination yet? We have not," he said.
Explaining the possible reasons for the delay in declaring these outfits as FTO, Crowley said these steps have to be carefully evaluated and documents because it does have financial and legal consequences. "Frequently we could be subject to a lawsuit. So we would have to defend a decision that we`ve made in these designations," he said.
"We want to make sure that you have done your due diligence and you can actually defend the decision that is made. We also make sure that any action that we take actually supports our broader strategy. And we understand the impact that that designation would have on the ground, in either Pakistan or Afghanistan," Crowley said.
"So these are all things that we take into account when we evaluate steps like this," Crowley said in response to a question.