Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's recent statement promising an end of support to terror groups does not reflect a change of policy and is motivated by the fear of getting blacklisted by the global terror-financing watchdog FATF, the country's former envoy to the US, Husain Haqqani, has said.
Khan said last month that he'll not allow Pakistan's land to be used for terror activities.
Khan promised actions against militant groups operating from Pakistan's soil
Amid intense global pressure to rein in terror outfits, Khan last month said his government won't allow Pakistan's land to be used for any kind of terror activities and promised actions against militant groups operating from the country's soil.
Yesterday, Haqqani said that so far, there is no evidence that the Khan government or the military is dismantling Pakistan's terrorist support infrastructure.
There's little change in Pak's attitude towards militancy: Haqqani
"There's little change in Pakistan's attitude towards militancy, particularly the one directed against Afghanistan and India," Haqqani said in his address to the third 'India Ideas Conference' organized by India Initiative of the prestigious Georgetown University.
Haqqani said Pakistan has failed to initiate any action against the Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group or its leader Masood Azhar after the Pulwama terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir.
'Azhar's designation as a terrorist was blocked at Pakistan's behest'
"Islamabad's close ties with Beijing were invoked to ensure that Azhar's designation as a terrorist by the United Nations was blocked by China at Pakistan's behest," said Haqqani, adding that such moves are consistent with Islamabad's policies of the last 30 years.
Haqqani, who has authored several books, is currently the Director for South and Central Asia at the Hudson Institute think-tank.
Haqqani is considered as outspoken critic of Pak Army's policies
Haqqani is considered as an outspoken critic of the Pakistan Army's domestic and foreign policies, especially its support of terrorism.
"Although the FATF (Financial Action Task Force) sanctions are not imminent, Pakistan is trying to thwart them with public relations moves such as Imran Khan's latest statement. There will be more PR moves as FATF pressures increase," he said.
Reassurance to act against terrorist-groups motivated by economic considerations: Haqqani
The former ambassador said that the desire to reassure the world once again that Pakistan wants to act against terrorist groups is motivated by economic considerations.
"Pakistan's economy is not doing too well. FATF sanctions would only make Khan's only economic option more borrowing and financial bailouts by other countries as well as, IMF more difficult," he further said.
'Pakistan's support for militancy a strategic choice'
Haqqani stressed that "Pakistan's support for militancy is a strategic choice, motivated by the desire to provide a force multiplier for a relatively poor country trying to act as a major regional power without resources comparable to its perceived rival".
Pakistan is under intense global pressure to rein in terrorist outfits operating from its soil after the deadly Pulwama attack.
Tensions between India-Pak escalated following the deadly Pulwama terror attack
Tensions between India and Pakistan escalated after a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based terror group JeM killed 40 CRPF personnel in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district on February 14.
Following this, India launched a counter-terror operation in Balakot.
The next day, Pakistan Air Force retaliated and downed a MiG-21 in aerial combat and captured its pilot, who was handed over to India on March 1.
Following Pulwama, FATF decided to continue 'Grey' listing of Pakistan
Following the Pulwama attack, Paris-headquartered FATF decided to continue the 'Grey' listing of Pakistan for its failure to stop funding of terrorist groups such as JeM, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jamat-ud-Dawa.
The 'Grey' listing continuation means downgrading of Pakistan by multilateral lenders like the IMF, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, EU and also a reduction in risk rating by Moody's, S&P and Fitch, according to experts.