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Pakistan a critical partner in anti-terror war: US

Publication Date : 01-08-2012

 

Pakistan remained a critical partner on counter-terrorism efforts, actively engaging against al-Qaeda and the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), but its cooperation regarding other terrorist groups, such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, was mixed, said a US report.

The US State Department’s counter-terrorism report for 2011, which was released yesterday, noted that the US raid in Abbottabad that killed Osama bin Laden, “sparked intense international and domestic scrutiny of Pakistan’s security establishment and strained the US-Pakistan relationship and bilateral counter-terrorism efforts”.

Cooperation between the two countries, however, began to recover slightly, as evidenced by the Pakistan military’s September announcement marking the capture of senior al-Qaeda leader Younis al-Mauritani in a joint US-Pakistan operation.

However, progress stalled following a November air strike by US that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

Despite strained ties, Pakistani officials publicly reiterated that bilateral cooperation was in the best interest of both countries, the report noted.

The report pointed out that in addition to Pakistan’s counter-terrorism efforts, a deluge of politically and ethnically-motivated targeted killings in Karachi consumed the attention of the country’s parliament, Supreme Court, and law-enforcement agencies during the summer.

The TTP claimed responsibility for killing federal Minister for Minority Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti.

In September, Sunni extremists conducted execution-style attacks on Shia pilgrims in Balochistan.

Over 2,500 civilians and 670 law-enforcement agencies personnel died in terror-related incidents.

The TTP claimed responsibility for most of Pakistan’s almost daily attacks that targeted civilians and security personnel.

The country took some steps to support both public and private sector initiatives to counter violent extremism. This included offering support for the United Arab Emirates’ new International Centre of Excellence on Countering Violent Extremism.

The information ministry developed a public awareness campaign. In Swat, the army hosted a seminar on de-radicalisation for journalists, academics, and international donors to showcase its facilities in the region.

In June, President Asif Ali Zardari signed the “Action in Aid of Civil Power Regulation, 2011,” which provides a framework for the detention of insurgents in Federally and Provincially Administered Tribal Areas. The regulation provides a legal framework for security forces to take, hold and process detainees captured during conflict.

Human rights organisations, however, have criticised the regulation because it gives broad powers to the military.

Despite calls by the prime minister to move forward, parliament did not approve legislation aimed at strengthening the Anti-Terrorism Act. The acquittal rate for terrorist cases remained as high as 85 per cent.

 

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