After Pulwama attack, pressure mounts on Pak to take ‘irreversible’ steps against terror

Pakistan’s actions of detaining activists of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Lashkar-eTaiba (LeT) and taking over of facilities of these banned groups in the wake of the Pulwama suicide attack in February do not amount to irreversible action against terrorists based on its soil, people familiar with developments said on Tuesday.

A step such as the designation of JeM chief Masood Azhar at the UN’s Islamic State and al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee would be an example of an irreversible step as Pakistan would have to acknowledge that an individual, who has been on the most wanted list of India and the US, is a terrorist, the people said.

Since the attack in Pulwama, which triggered a stand-off between India and Pakistan, New Delhi and Washington have closely coordinated their positions to mount pressure on Islamabad to crack down on terror groups operating from its soil.

When France moved a proposal at the UN’s 1267 Sanctions Committee to designate the JeM chief as a global terrorist, the move was strongly backed by the US and the UK. However, China blocked the proposal, apparently at the behest of its traditional ally Pakistan.

While Pakistan has taken some steps, such as detaining JeM and LeT activists and taking over facilities such as madrassas, there is also a need for irreversible steps, the people cited above said. The US and other countries are working with India to achieve the process of designating Azhar, they added.

India and the US are also working closely to investigate the Pulwama attack and to eliminate all terror sanctuaries in Pakistan through measures at the UN and other forums such as the Financial Action Task Force, the people said. Though there is no set time frame for taking the issue of Azhar’s designation to the UN Security Council in view of China’s block, all stakeholders are looking for action in the near term, they added.