ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office on Tuesday expressed its disappointment over Pakistan-related observations in the US State Department’s Country Reports on Terrorism and called for constructive engagement between the two countries for advancing counter-terrorism goals.

A rejoinder to the report issued by FO asked for recognition of Pakistan’s sacrifices in its fight against terrorism, and emphasised that those contributions made the “world a safer place”.

“Pakistan is disappointed with assertions made in the US Department of State’s Country Report on Terrorism 2018, concerning its counter-terrorism efforts. The report completely overlooks the factual situation on the ground and the tremendous contribution made and sacrifices rendered by Pakistan over the last two decades in the international struggle against terrorism,” the statement said.

The annual report released on Nov 1 looked at the global counter-terrorism trends during the past year and reviewed progress made by the US and other countries in dealing with the terrorism threat. The report contains sections on various countries confronted with the problem of terrorism and profiles of terrorist organisations involved in high-profile attacks.

In the section on Pakistan, the report alleged that the country’s law enforcement agencies did not act sufficiently against terrorist groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad, which carry out attacks outside the country and did not stop the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani Network from using Pakistani soil.

The report further accused Pakistan of uneven implementation of its domestic laws against terror financing and sanctions on UN-listed entities and individuals despite being placed on FATF’s grey list for weakness in its counter-terrorism and anti-money laundering regimes.

The FO statement reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to taking “concrete actions” under the National Action Plan to counter-terrorism and recalled that “extensive legal and administrative measures” had been taken for meeting the obligations under the UNSC resolution 1267 sanctions regime relating to designated entities and individuals. “Pakistan is continuing actions to fully implement the FATF Action Plan,” it asserted.

Regretting that while the US report noted threats faced by Pakistan from terrorist groups such as the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, Jamaatul Ahrar and Islamic State Khorasan Province, it failed to mention that these threats originated from Afghanistan.

About the observations related to the Afghan peace process, it said Pakistan’s contribution had been “widely acknowledged, including by the United States”, therefore, aspersions cast on Pakistan in the report were “unwarranted” and “inconsistent with the positive trajectory of bilateral relations”.

Published in Dawn, November 6th, 2019