Since 9/11 the United States time and again pledged to eliminate safe sanctuaries of terrorists and make the world a better place to live in, but as a matter of fact the terrorists are still thriving vigorously, especially in South Asia as the terror outfits are not short of support and patronage. Despite having knowledge of these safe havens the US officials have been consoling the restless hearts of those who counted on them in the war against terror only with statements. In the past decade, Washington has done very little with selective approach to eliminate the terrorists who are feeding on flesh and blood of innocent people.
Keeping the series of statements continue, Barack Obama ahead of his crucial visit to India once again said that militants’ shelters in Pakistan are unacceptable. How serious Obama is, the time ahead has to prove it but suspicion over role of the US in the war on terror is all time high, because militant leaders are still walking freely in Pakistani cities with different flags and labels. Though, December 2014 was deadliest month for Pakistan when militants attacked an army-administered school in Peshawar and massacred children but there has been no considerable change in Islamabad’s policies and the approach against insurgents group is still very selective. Militant groups not hostile to Pakistan are maneuvering without lit or hindrance, though they are threatening regional stability by carrying out attacks frequently in Afghanistan and with some pause in India and Iran. Recently, Islamabad claimed banning the notorious Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Haqqani Network but still there has been no confirmation. The former Pakistani dictator Pervez Musharraf had also banned several organizations in the books to win applause from the US, but in fact these militant outfits were allowed to function and possess offices—however, with different name and flag. Even if couple of people were arrested, their prison cells were not less than a suite of five-star hotel. If the extremists are allowed to walk freely and collect donations with different titles to finance insurgency then ban will make no difference.
As the US has never asked Pakistan that how can a bunch of militants challenge and upset the 7th largest army in the world, therefore the claims to make South Asia peaceful by eliminating militants’ sanctuaries has no ground to stand on. Suspicion about the US role in the region is growing as the terrorism-affected nations see no difference between polices of Islamabad and Washington. The war-weary nations are of the view that there has been all bark with no bite that’s why they are still standing at the square one with no drop in militancy in sight. Their fears and perceptions could not be ruled out easily, because both Washington and Islamabad are hurling only hollow statements rather than taking action against groups that are threatening regional stability.
If the two countries are serious to end terrorism then they should take the extra mile because only beating drums will not bring any change. It is an open secret that the US has more power to curtail terrorism in South Asia if practical steps were taken. Washington should ensure that all terrorist outfits are banned and militant leaders are not at large. Insurgents living in Pakistan with different nationalities should be handed over to their respective governments. To be honest at this point, both Islamabad and Washington to some extent are working hard to tame terrorism and make the region a better place for living. Recent gestures of the two countries are positive and broadening the optimistic perspective. They are well-aware of the fact that violence serves no purpose but brings only destruction. However, there is need for more efforts which hopefully the two countries would engage in.