The US has slammed Pakistan over its continued support for terrorist groups, that engage in cross-border terrorism, calling it a chief obstacle in a productive dialogue with India.
Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Alice G Wells, in a statement on Monday further said that Pakistan’s harbouring of terrorist groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) which seek to foment violence across the Line of Control (LoC), is destabilizing, and held the Pakistani authorities accountable for their actions.
Wells further stated that the foundation of any successful dialogue between India and Pakistan is based on Pakistan taking sustained and irreversible steps against terrorists within its territory.
"We believe the foundation of any successful dialogue between India and Pakistan is based on Pakistan taking sustained and irreversible steps
against terrorists in its territory. Both the President and Secretary Pompeo have met and spoken with their Indian and Pakistani counterparts multiple times, including at the recent United Nations General Assembly, to encourage dialogue. We believe that direct dialogue between India and Pakistan, as outlined in the 1972 Shimla Agreement, holds the most potential for reducing tensions. History shows us what is possible. During the 2006-2007 backchannel negotiations, India and Pakistan reportedly made significant progress on a number of issues, including Kashmir. Restarting a productive bilateral dialogue requires building trust, and the chief obstacle remains Pakistan’s continued support for extremist groups that engage in cross-border terrorism," said Wells.
The US diplomat further blasted Pakistan for failing to invest sufficiently in its people, adding that now the nation lags behind other countries in the region in important metrics. "For instance, according to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), 45 per cent of Pakistani children under age five are malnourished, 43 per cent of Pakistanis over 15 are illiterate, and just 46 per cent of children are receiving a secondary education. We hope the reforms Pakistan is undertaking under its current International Monetary Fund plan will lay the foundation for better economic management and growth leading to an improvement in the democratic system and human rights situation," she said.
"We remain deeply concerned about reports of human rights abuses and discrimination faced by Pakistanis because of their faith. In many cases, these abuses are perpetrated by non-state actors, and Pakistan has taken steps to counter many of the country’s most virulent terrorist
organizations posing a direct threat to the state, such as Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and the Tehreek-eTaliban Pakistan," she added.