WASHINGTON: Reintegration of de-radicalised terrorists into society remained a priority in Pakistan during 2015, says an official US report.

The annual US State Department report, released on Thursday afternoon, pointed out that despite various problems in Pakistan’s counterterrorism strategy, the country “remained a critical counterterrorism partner in 2015”.

Throughout last year, the Pakistani government operated a number of de-radicalisation camps in different parts of the country. The camps offered “corrective religious education, vocational training, counselling and therapy,” the report added.

The camps followed a discussion module that addressed social issues and included sessions with the students’ families.

The State Department acknowledged that in 2015, Pakistan implemented a National Action Plan (NAP) against terrorism, which seeks to prevent future terrorist attacks on its soil. It described NAP as a mixture of judicial, law enforcement, military and administrative goals that seek to punish established terrorists, eliminate support for terrorism, and promote the non-violent coexistence of various sects.

“Also throughout 2015, the Pakistani military continued ground and air operations in North Waziristan and Khyber Agency to eliminate terrorist safe havens and recover illegal weapons caches,” said the report.

But the State Department also noted that “Pakistan did not take substantial action” against the Afghan Taliban or the Haqqani network in 2015 and did little to deter homegrown jihadi groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM).

“Afghanistan, in particular, continued to experience aggressive and coordinated attacks by the Afghan Taliban, including the Haqqani network, and other insurgent and terrorist groups,” the report said. “A number of these attacks were planned and launched from safe havens in Pakistan,” it alleged.

The State Department complained that Pakistan had not taken sufficient action against other externally-focused groups either, such as LeT and JeM which continued to “operate, train, organise, and fundraise in Pakistan”.

Although Pakistan “banned media coverage of US-and UN-designated terrorist organisations such as Jamaatu Dawa (JuD) and the Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation (FiF), the government did not otherwise constrain those groups’ fundraising activities”.

Hafiz Saeed, the leader of LeT/JuD/FiF, “who is also a UN-designated terrorist, was able to make frequent public appearances in support of the organisations’ objectives,” without Pakistan government raising a finger to stop him, the report noted.

The report also underlined the “slow pace of trial proceedings” for the accused in the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack and noted that the alleged mastermind of these attacks, Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi was released on bail in April 2015, though he remained under house arrest at the end of 2015.

Published in Dawn, June 4th, 2016

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