US lawmaker Ted Poe refers to ‘Pakistan’ as ‘the backstabbing nation’

Washington: Well-known Islamabad baiter, US congressman Ted Poe, has in a tweet called his country’s putative ally “the backstabbing nation of Pakistan’.

In a tweet earlier today, Poe posted a note “applauding” US defense secretary James Mattis’s decision to withhold coalition support funds to Pakistan.

Poe has often taken Pakistan to task as it “supports multiple terrorist organisations”. He is the chair of the ‘terrorism, nonproliferation, and trade’ subcommittee of the US’s foreign affairs committee.

In the note he posted today, Poe, a member of the US of house of representatives from Texas, explains how the funds withholding to Islamabad came about.

“Under the National Defense Authorization Act, the Secretary of Defense must be able to verify that the backstabbing nation of Pakistan has ‘taken sufficient action against the Haqqani Network’ in the fight against terrorism,” the note Poe posted on Twitter explains.

Poe then again calls Pakistan a “Benedict Arnold Ally”, like he did earlier this month. He was referring to a notorious American traitor. Arnold was a general during the American Revolutionary War who originally fought on the American side but then defected to the British Army.

Poe says, referring to Pakistan, that he is “encouraged by this step revoking funding to our Benedict Arnold ally.”

Last week, US defense secretary Mattis said the US has decided to block $350 million in coalition support funds to Pakistan as it had not taken “sufficient actions” against the dreaded Haqqani terror network which has been behind terror attacks in Afghanistan.

Also last week, the US listed Pakistan among the nations providing “safe havens” to terrorists, saying terror groups like the LeT and JeM continued to operate, train, organise and fund-raise inside the country.

“Pakistan did not take sufficient action against other externally focused groups, such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad in 2016, which continued to operate, train, organise, and fundraise in Pakistan,” said the annual ‘Country Report on Terrorism’ from the US state department. LeT’s founder Hafiz Saeed is the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

Pakistan’s relationship with the US has became shaky in the past few months, as the Trump administration has not just taken actions like last week’s, its officials have been making public statements about Islamabad’s unreliability in the war on terror.

Earlier this month, in an extraordinarily candid exchange with media persons, US defense secretary Mattis admitted that the ongoing review of the US’s Afghanistan strategy is “hard” because it has to be “wrapped into a regional context” that involves Pakistan.

After visiting Pakistan in early July, US senator John McCain issued a stern warning to Pakistan – “take action against the Haqqani Network or we will impose sanctions on you“.

“We have made it very clear that we expect Pakistan will cooperate with us, particularly against the Haqqani network and against terrorist organisations…If they don’t change their behaviour, maybe we should change our behaviour towards Pakistan as a nation,” McCain said at a news briefing in Kabul after his Islamabad visit, reported ANI.

A Pentagon report last month described Pakistan as “the most influential external actor” in Afghanistan and added that the Taliban and Haqqani Network, benefit from “support” from elements of the Pakistan government, PTI reported.

The Pentagon report also said that “Pakistan views the outcome of Afghanistan to be in its vital national interest and thus remains driven by its India-centric regional policy objectives”.

In fact, it isn’t just the US that is growing increasingly weary of Pakistan’s inaction on terror, which also affects the human rights situation within Pakistan. Nato and the EU too are.

In a recent statement, Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg called “unacceptable” countries that have terror safe havens. He was referring to Pakistan.

“It is absolutely unacceptable that a country provides sanctuary to terrorist groups which are responsible for terrorist attacks inside another country,” Stoltenberg said.

Last month, the European Parliament adopted a resolution condemning the human rights situation in Pakistan.

The resolution, which was adopted by majority, expressed grave concern over the “roll-back in Pakistan of the respect for human rights and the rule of law,” in particular the freedom granted to security forces, the use of military courts, the crackdown on NGOs, the intimidation of human rights defenders and religious minorities, and the increase in extrajudicial killings, reported IANS.

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