Meeting with CENTCOM chief: PM House glosses over US critique of terror fight

The Donald Trump administration has ratcheted up pressure on Pakistan to make sure its soil is not used to plan and conduct terrorist attacks against its neighbours – a charge often levelled by India and Afghanistan. This may include labeling Pakistan a state sponsor of terror.

The renewed pressure came three days after the United States designated Hizbul Mujahideen (HuM), an umbrella of indigenous Kashmiri separatist militant groups, a global terrorist out in a move that drew a sharp rebuke from Islamabad.

Saturday’s message was conveyed by US Central Command Commander General Joseph L Votel, who called on Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi before concluding his two-day Pakistan visit.

According to an official statement from the Prime Minister Office, all went well in the meeting, but the US Embassy in Islamabad gave a different view. “In his [general’s] discussions with Pakistani leaders, he emphasised that all parties must work to ensure that Pakistani soil is not used to plan or conduct terrorist attacks against its neighbours,” it said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Trump’s meetings with his top military advisers at Camp David bore even more ominous signs, with one of the harder proposals suggesting that the US begin a review of whether to designate Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism if it does not pursues senior leaders of the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network, US officials said. Such a designation would trigger harsh US sanctions, including a ban on arms sales and an end to US economic assistance.

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