Will wait & watch on Pak’s steps against terrorism: US

Islamabad: Learning from bitter past experiences, the US has told Pakistan that it would adopt a policy of wait and watch on the steps taken by Islamabad in fighting terror as the “the proof is in the pudding”.

The US conveyed this to the Pakistani leadership which assured visiting Secretary of State John Kerry that there would be no distinction between the good and the bad terrorists.

“The proof is in the pudding, and I mean, it relies on kind of what actual operational steps are taken,” a senior State Department official told reporters travelling with Kerry on his trip to Islamabad.

The official made the remarks when asked if the top Pakistani leadership gave any commitment to the US on taking actions against terrorist outfits like the dreaded Haqqani network and Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Soon after his arrival in Islamabad from Ahmedabad yesterday, Kerry met Pakistan’s National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif among others.

During the meetings, US officials said the Pakistani leadership asserted that they would make no distinction among terrorists.

“The rhetoric that we heard tonight and what we’ve heard over the course of the last months since the Peshawar attack was absolutely the case that this has unified the country in a way that they’ve repeatedly described as their 9/11, that it created a consensus in the country that had never been there in that same way,” the official said.

The Pakistani leadership said they are not making any sort of distinction between terrorist groups.

“This is something that we’ve heard more uniformly, more robustly than we’ve ever heard,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

“Do you believe it?” the senior state department official was asked. “I hope to believe it,” the official said.

“We’ll have to see kind of what develops, but I think that you can’t deny that the North Waziristan operation has had some significant impacts which they have to continue to solidify and strengthen,” the official said.

“They told us very, very explicitly, from both military and civilian leadership, that they were in this fight till the end. And we’ll have to see, but if, in fact, they are doing that, that’s a commitment we want to support,” the official added.

Another senior state department official described Pakistan’s commitment to not differentiate between terrorists as a “forward-looking thing” which now simplifies US’ dialogue with the country.

However, the official cautioned that, “we are going to have to watch and see how this plays out.”