Pakistan doing ‘bare minimum’ to help US — official

Pakistan has done the "bare minimum to appear responsive to our requests,” the official said on condition of anonymity, sketching out the need for increased pressure. (AFP photo)
Updated 17 March 2018

Pakistan doing ‘bare minimum’ to help US — official

WASHINGTON: Pakistan is doing the “bare minimum” to squeeze the Taliban and terror groups, a senior US administration official said Friday, despite Washington’s threat to freeze two billion dollars’ worth of aid.
The official’s comments also come as Pakistan is trying to avoid being put on a global watch list over terrorism financing that could hamper its ability to receive foreign investment.
“The Pakistanis have wanted to appear responsive,” the official said on condition of anonymity, sketching out the need for increased pressure.
“They have done the bare minimum to appear responsive to our requests,” the official added, citing the need to prod the Taliban toward the negotiating table and round-up militants.
“We continue to make very specific requests, and when provided with very specific information they have responded, but we have not seen them pro-actively take the steps that we expect and know they are capable of.”
It is more than 200 days since President Donald Trump announced America’s latest strategy to win the long war in Afghanistan, focusing on pushing the Taliban to the negotiating table.
The plan demanded Pakistan move against Taliban leaders who support a continuation of the war, under the threat of cutting US military assistance and Afghanistan coalition funding to Islamabad.
So far, the strategy has borne only limited fruit, limiting the Taliban’s march on the battlefield.
But, according to Washington, there is little sign that Islamabad has made a decision to end its support for group which the country’s powerful security services see as safeguarding its interests and against bulwark against Indian influence in Kabul.
“We didn’t think this would be easy,” the official said. “We need to sustain the pressure.”
“I don’t think that we can just the efficacy of the strategy right now. We should give it more time, it deserves more time,” the official added, suggesting an August anniversary of Trump’s strategy speech may be a good time to reflect.
Members of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an anti money-laundering watchdog based Paris, voted last month to place Pakistan on its grey list of nations which are not doing enough to combat terror financing in June, reportedly under US pressure.
That gives Pakistan three months to make enough changes to avoid the listing.
arb/ia


Pakistan PM to co-convene first forum on global refugees

Updated 16 December 2019

Pakistan PM to co-convene first forum on global refugees

  • Geneva meeting will be the first major initiative on the topic
  • Nearly 1.4mn Afghan refugees reside in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan will travel to Geneva to co-convene the first Global Refugee Forum (GRF) which begins on December 17, 2019, the PM’s Office said in a statement released on Monday.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Switzerland are co-hosting the event. 
PM Khan, along with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and other leaders from Costa Rica, Ethiopia, and Germany, were chosen. For the initiative in recognition of the exemplary roles played by them for the protection and well-being of refugees.
“The Global Refugee Forum – the first major meeting on refugees of the 21st century – will be jointly hosted by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency and the Government of Switzerland on 17-18 December 2019,” excerpts from the statement read.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will also be speaking at the forum which is expected to galvanize political support and solidarity and broaden the base of commitments from states, international organizations, private sectors, and civil society to deal with the issue.
“The prime minister will articulate Pakistan’s perspective, experience, and contribution to the Afghan refugees. Co-convening of the GRF is recognition of Pakistan’s generosity, humanitarian leadership, and compassion of the people of Pakistan toward their Afghan brothers and sisters for the past 40 years,” the statement read.
During his stay in Geneva, PM Khan will also hold talks with his counterparts and the UN leadership, in addition to attending a luncheon hosted by the UN Secretary-General. 
Around 1.4 million registered Afghan refugees reside in Pakistan.
On June 28, Pakistan decided to extend the duration of their stay until June 30, 2020.
The UN refugee agency welcomed the government’s decision, commending Pakistan for being “an exemplary host” and vowing to support the government’s policies which promote voluntary repatriation.