US Decides Against Branding Pakistan a Terrorist Nation
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The State Department expressed concern Friday over reports of continued Pakistani support for Kashmiri and Sikh militants in India but declined to designate Pakistan a sponsor of international terrorism.
Any country so designated is subject to a series of sanctions under U.S. law.
U.S. officials said there is strong evidence that Kashmiri and Sikh militants have received training on Pakistani territory and that Pakistan has provided weapons to them. They also said that adding Pakistan to the terrorism list had received serious consideration among State Department officials.
Under Secretary of State Arnold Kanter met on Thursday with Pakistan’s Ambassador Syeda Abida Hussain to discuss Pakistan’s ties with the militants in India and other issues.
A State Department response to press questions said Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger determined that available information did not warrant a finding that Pakistan had ″repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism.″
The State Department pointed out, however, that Pakistan or any nation may be designated as a state sponsor of terrorism at any time if the facts warrant. The terrorism list is normally reviewed each January.
Countries currently on the list are Libya, Syria, Cuba, North Korea, Iran and Iraq.
These countries are barred from receiving U.S. aid, from purchasing U.S.-made weapons, and from U.S. support in international lending institutions. Trade benefits also would be withdrawn, among other sanctions.
Throughout virtually all of the previous decade, the United States had close ties with Pakistan, primarily because of the role that country played in funneling assistance to anti-communist rebels in neighboring Afghanistan. On the list of U.S. aid recipients, Pakistan ranked third.
But Pakistan’s strategic importance to the United States began to diminish with the Soviet troop withdrawal from Afghanistan in February 1989.
U.S.-Pakistani ties were further loosened in October 1990 when the Bush administration concluded that Pakistan had developed a nuclear weapons capability.
That finding required the administration to apply to Pakistan legislation requiring a suspension of all military aid and new economic assistance. The result was a cutoff of $564 million in assistance planned for fiscal 1991. The aid cutoff has remained in effect since then.