Unless Pakistan is Held Accountable For Terrorism, Innocent People Will Die, Says Expert

The demand was also part of Imran Khan's Election Manifesto, according to Al Jazeera. After assuming office, Khan went on to mention Siddiqui's name on several occasions, calling for her release.

SWAT team members deploy near Congregation Beth Israel Synagogue during a hostage situation in Colleyville, Texas, January 15, 2022. (Photo: PTI/AFP)

Washington: Pakistan has yet again emerged as a terror-sponsoring country after the high-intensity Texas synagogue hostage situation last week. Malik Faisal Akram, 44, took four people hostage at a synagogue in the US state of Texas and had sought the release of Pakistani Scientist Aafia Siddiqui who was serving sentence in US prison. Akram was later killed on Sunday following a tense standoff. US President Joe Biden termed this incident as an “act of terror”.

Interestingly, Siddiqui’s case continues to draw attention ever since she was arrested in the eastern Afghan province of Ghazni in 2008 under plans to attack US cities. Most Americans are unaware of Siddiqui’s case, but militant groups have been seeking her release and using the case to gain more recruits, Voice of America (VOA) reported.

The conviction of Siddiqui in 2010 had sparked outrage in Pakistan. Later, the Pakistani Senate had passed a resolution in 2018, calling her “Daughter of the Nation” and had urged the government to take “concrete steps” for her repatriation.

The demand was also part of Imran Khan’s Election Manifesto, according to Al Jazeera. After assuming office, Khan went on to mention Siddiqui’s name on several occasions, calling for her release.

Writing for The Times of Israel, President of CPFA (Center of Political and Foreign Affairs) Fabien Baussart argued that the state can generally not be held responsible for the actions of individuals but in Pakistan’s case, the decades of efforts of the state to build a society centered on a religio-political identity beg the question of accountability of the state for its regressive narratives.

“Unless the Pakistani state is held accountable for fomenting extremism and terrorism worldwide, innocent people throughout the world will continue to pay the price for such blatant encouragement to Islamic extremism,” he said.

Baussart stated that the international terrorism financing and money laundering watchdog FATF has kept Pakistan on its “Grey List” since 2018 in an obvious effort to force the country to mend its ways. “However, instead of making any fundamental change in its strategy of using terrorism for political objectives, Islamabad has complied in a perfunctory manner to the FATF’s requirements.”

Making a case for retaining Pakistan in the Grey list, the expert highlighted how Pakistan’s prosecution regime has repeatedly failed to convince its own judiciary against some of the most dreaded terrorists resulting in overturning by the higher judiciary of hastily obtained convictions in “special” courts to fool the FATF.

“Be it in the case of killers of Daniel Pearl or, more recently, Lashkar-e-Toiba accused Abdul Rehman Makki, the High Courts of Sindh and Lahore, respectively, found the prosecution’s cases obviously shoddy. It is up to the FATF to decide whether these have been deliberately left shoddy or the prosecution regime still does not meet the standards expected by the august body,” he argued.

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