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US may not declare Pakistan as a terrorist state

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    US may not declare Pakistan as a terrorist state
    US Has Evidence Linking Hijackers, Pakistan
    By Jonathan Wright

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has credible evidence that the men who hijacked an Indian airliner last month were from a group which receives some support from the Pakistani government, a U.S. official said on Tuesday.
    But it does not believe that the Pakistani authorities had prior knowledge of the hijacking, supported it or helped the group carry out the operation, U.S. spokesmen added.
    ``We do not have evidence that the Pakistani government was in any way involved in that hijacking,'' President Clinton told reporters at the White House.
    The United States has asked Pakistan to crack down on the group, the Harkat ul-Mujahideen, and the Pakistanis say they are considering the request, the U.S. official said.
    ``There is some credible evidence that the hijacking was carried out by the Harkat ul-Mujahideen,'' he said.
    ``We have long said that the government of Pakistan does provide general support to a number of groups operating in Kashmir, including the Harkat ul-Mujahideen,'' added another official, State Department spokesman James Rubin.
    Harkat ul-Mujahideen is the new name for Harkat ul-Ansar, a radical Kashmiri nationalist group that was put on the State Department's list of terrorist groups in 1997. After it appeared on the list, the group changed its name.
    Rubin declined to comment on a New York Times report quoting U.S. officials as saying Pakistan might end up on Washington's separate list of what it calls ``state sponsors of terrorism.'' Listed countries can suffer sanctions.
    India says it has evidence that the Pakistani government helped in the Indian Airlines hijacking, which ended on Dec. 31 when the hijackers freed 155 hostages in exchange for India's release of three members of Harkat ul-Mujahideen.
    But White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said: ``We have no evidence that the government of Pakistan had foreknowledge of, supported or helped carry out the hijacking.''
    The subject came up when U.S. assistant secretary of state Karl Inderfurth visited Pakistan last week with Michael Sheehan, State Department coordinator for counterterrorism.
    Apart from the hijacking and political violence, the United States is concerned at the close ties between Pakistan and the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan. It wants to see a quick return to democratic rule in Pakistan, where Gen. Pervez Musharraf took power in a military coup in October.
    In talks with Musharraf, the U.S. officials asked him to cut off support for Harkat ul-Mujahideen and other militant groups active in the campaign against Indian rule in mainly Muslim Kashmir.
    ``They said they are going to take into consideration our request and get back to us,'' the U.S. official said. ``But there were no promises,'' he added.
    The New York Times said Musharraf left the impression that no action would be taken soon, an attitude it described as a rebuff to the U.S. request.
    U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, compared Pakistani support for the Kashmiri groups to the broad support that some Arab governments might give to the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas.
    Pakistani commentators have warned successive governments that action against the militants could lead to a backlash by radical Muslim groups and to domestic unrest.
    Stephen Cohen, of the Brookings Institution in Washington, said the United States was reluctant to take a very strong line against Pakistan because it did not want to rule out playing a useful peacemaking role in South Asia, where India and Pakistan -- both nuclear powers -- have long been in dispute over Kashmir.
    ``If we declared Pakistan a terrorist state, or stopped IMF (International Monetary Fund) loans to Pakistan, we could not play a useful role,'' he told Reuters.

    Why b*****ng Pakistan a terrorist state is a bad idea

    Reports that the Clinton Administration feels the Pakistani military had a hand in the hijacking of Flight 814 will be received with glee in New Delhi. A New York Times story says Washington now believes the Islamic group Harkat ul-Ansar (now known as Harkat ul-Mujahidin) carried out the hijacking, and that the group is supported by the Pakistani military. This would appear to vindicate India's long-standing claim that Islamabad actively backs terrorism in the disputed Kashmir state. But if the Indian government thinks the U.S. will now heed its calls for Pakistan to be declared a terrorist state, it has another think coming. Washington will do no such thing--and thank goodness.

    For one thing, the U.S. is beholden to Pakistan for services rendered during the Afghan-Soviet war. For another, no Pakistani agency (as opposed to individual Pakistani national) has ever been implicated in a terrorist act against the U.S. or its citizens. No American--indeed few people outside India--would put Pakistan in the same league as Iraq, Iran and Syria, countries the U.S. regards as terrorist states.

    Oh, and another thing: Pakistan has the Bomb. The Clinton Administration has frequently blundered on South Asia policy, but it is not so foolish as to antagonize a country with nuclear weapons.

    More to the point, it would not be in the best interests of South Asia for Pakistan to be declared a pariah. It could do India more harm than good. After all, none of the nations that have earned the label "terrorist state"--and that have been hit with economic sanctions as a result--has felt compelled to turn over a new leaf. On the contrary, hard-line elements in the Pakistani military could decide they might as well be hung for sheep as for lambs and ratchet up the hostilities on the border. India should note that the neighbors of Iraq, Iran and Syria aren't slashing their defense budgets because America deems those three outcasts.

    The best New Delhi can hope for is that the Clinton Administration will pressure Pakistan's dictator, General Pervez Musharraf, to stop backing terrorist groups and to restart dialogue with India. That would be a great service to South Asia. Assigning labels won't bring lasting peace to the subcontinent: that can only come from direct negotiations between New Delhi and Islamabad. If the U.S. can force the two sides to quit shouting and start talking, so much the better.


      What a pity for the US on not declaring Pak a terrorist state. Now Russia is calling the same shot where US has failed. LOL

      Fata Morgana


        Pakistan is not a state, its a GHETO


          There is an article in "Wall Streel Journal" that says "Dont ostracize Pakistan" by declaring it a terrorist state. Pakistan may collapse leading to a nuclear war in South Asia. There will be a worse problem if Pakistan collapses.


            Originally posted by realpaki:
            Pakistan is not a state, its a GHETO
            Gheto? well as long as we are not a ghetto like an certain neighbour... I am fine

            Peela school I presume?

            [This message has been edited by Fraudz (edited February 07, 2000).]
            The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist. And like that... he is gone.