Washington, Jul 21: Pakistan's spy agency ISI sponsors terrorism in Kashmir and it oversees terrorist groups there, the FBI has said in the first ever open acknowledgment by a US agency that Islamabad is a ‘State Sponsor of Terrorism'.
In a 43-page affidavit to a US court in Alexandria in a case related to the arrest of Kashmiri separatist leader Ghulam Nabi Fai, Special FBI agent Sarah Webb Linden said that the ISI's Security Directorate “oversees Kashmiri militant groups”.
Linden mentioned about Brigadier Javeed Aziz Khan, the ISI officer who handled Fai, head of the Washington-based Kashmiri American Council (KAC), and identified him as Fai's primary supervisor within the spy agency.
“On July 17, 2009, Khan e-mailed Fai a detailed outline for the format of a briefing about the history and goals of KAC which Fai was to provide during the upcoming visit of a Pakistani dignitary. I believe that Khan referred to the upcoming visit of Major General Mumtaz Ahmad Bajwa, who in late 2008 had been placed in command of the ISI's Security Directorate, which oversees Kashmiri militant groups,” Linden said in her affidavit.
This is the first ever open acknowledgment by the United States that Pakistan is a State Sponsor of Terrorism, an argument which India has been making for long. The FBI's affidavit before the Alexandria court adds to the revelations during the trial of Tahawwur Rana in a Chicago court early this year.
Now, it is being argued that Pakistan fits into American standard of State Sponsors of Terrorism criteria in more than one way.
Pakistan provides safe haven and ideological support to members of terrorist groups that are designated as Foreign Terrorist Organization by the US (like Lashkar-e- Taiba, Hizbul Mujahideen etc); and for continuing to permit US fugitives and terrorists designated by the UN to live in the country (Osama bin Laden, al-Zawahiri, Dawood Ibrahim etc).
Further it is principal supporter of groups that are implacably opposed to the US role in Afghanistan and a general anti-Indian stance (Haqqani network, LeT, HM etc.), provides weapons, training and funding to terrorist groups (LeT as revealed by David Headley in his testimony in the Chicago Court) and is unwilling to bring to justice senior al-Qaeda leaders (bin Laden was living in Abbottabad for five years).
Not only this, in Pakistan there is also the existence of foreign fighter facilitation networks (all terrorist plots that have targeted the US, including the Times Square bombing plot, Shoe Bomber etc. were traced back to training in Pakistan and similarly, existence of large number of foreign fighters for al-Qaeda in Pakistan training camps), experts feel.
As in the case of Sudan, which has been declared as a State Sponsor of Terrorism by the US in spite of the strong counter-terrorism cooperation between the two countries, because al-Qaeda-inspired terrorist elements as well as elements of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and HAMAS, remained in Sudan, presence of Haqqani network, LeT, HM, and other affiliated groups of al-Qaeda in Pakistan puts it on the same pedestal, they say.
According to the US, State sponsors of terrorism provide critical support to many non-state terrorist groups. Without state sponsors, these groups would have greater difficulty obtaining the funds, weapons, materials, and secure areas they require to plan and conduct operations. PTI