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Will Trump end Pak terror game?

For years, India has been crying hoarse over Pakistan being a sponsor of terror. But several factors, including, ironically, the US-led ‘war on terror’ in neighbouring Afghanistan, which required Paki

Published: 11th March 2017 04:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th March 2017 07:06 AM   |  A+A-

For years, India has been crying hoarse over Pakistan being a sponsor of terror. But several factors, including, ironically, the US-led ‘war on terror’ in neighbouring Afghanistan, which required Pakistan’s logistical support, ensured no major power really called it out for being a terrorist swamp. Then of course, Pakistan’s all-weather friend China ensured any attempt to censure or punish it at the UN was promptly vetoed.

Another factor was the Pentagon’s abiding bonhomie with Pakistan’s military, the real power center in the country. In fact, Pakistani officials at one time boasted that while the rest of the world dealt with the White House, Pakistan dealt with the Pentagon which wields considerable clout over the US president. Of course, this bonhomie did not stop the US from taking out Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden at his Abbottabad lair, walking distance of the Pakistan Military Academy. The election of Donald Trump as US president, however, might have radically changed the rules of the game. Rattled by his campaign pledges to take on terror, Pakistan went out of its way to again play the victim card, and quickly put terrorist leader Hafiz Saeed under house arrest to make a point. But that might not be enough.

On Thursday, Congressman Ted Poe, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, introduced a bill in Congress to declare Pakistan a “state sponsor of terrorism” and sought a “radical reset” in ties with Pakistan. “From harbouring Osama to its cozy relationship with the Haqqani network, there is more than enough evidence to determine whose side Pakistan is on in the war on terror. And it’s not America’s. It’s time we stop paying Pakistan for its betrayal and designate it for what it is: a state sponsor of terrorism,” he said introducing the bill. The bill requires Trump to issue a report within 90 days detailing whether Pakistan has provided support for international terrorism. India will wait and watch.

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