A Congressional report said that the security assistance to Pakistan would remain suspended pending “decisive and irreversible” action against terrorist groups. The move comes ahead of the visit of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to the United States.
In January 2018, the United States had suspended all its security assistance to Pakistan as directed by President Donald Trump.
The independent Congressional Research Service (CRS) said in the latest report on Pakistan, “Pakistan is a haven for numerous Islamist extremist and terrorist groups, and successive Pakistani governments are widely believed to have tolerated and even supported some of these as proxies in Islamabad’s historical conflicts with its neighbors.”
The CRS is responsible for preparing and presenting reports on issues of interest for lawmakers to make informed decisions. The reports are prepared by eminent experts of the fist of the field and are not considered as an official view of the US Congress.
The report by CRS claimed that 2011 revelation that Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had enjoyed years-long refuge in Pakistan led to intensive US government scrutiny of the bilateral relationship. Trump was the first who has taken harder action against Pakistan, cutting assistance and suspending security-related aid, said the CRS report dated July 15.
“The United States continues to press for decisive and irreversible action against externally-focused terror groups and UN-designated terrorist organizations operating from its territory,” it said. In 2018, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo while visiting Islamabad expressed hope that the US could find common ground with Pakistan’s new leadership but the mutual trust lacked in the relationship which reduced American support over Pakistan.
Observing that several indigenous terrorist groups execute their activities from Pakistani territory or areas under its occupation, many designated as ‘Foreign Terrorist Organisations’ under the US law, the CRS said incidents of domestic terrorism decreased since the Pakistan Army launched major operations in 2014.
It also noted that the Trump administration has observed Pakistan’s growing debt to China and expressed opposition to any bailout that would go to reducing Chinese debt. Pakistan’s Finance Ministry denies that the IMF funds would be used to repay Chinese debt and it is seeking to renegotiate aspects of the so-called “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor” or “CPEC” to reduce long-term debt, the CRS said.