Sunday, December 30, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Govt strategy to emerge winner
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 29
The Vajpayee government is working on a strategy to win battle against Pakistan without a war.

It was against this backdrop that the External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh yesterday handed over to US Ambassador Robert D. Blackwill a list of 30 hardcore terrorists based in Pakistan whose custody India has demanded.

As per this strategy, New Delhi is stepping up its diplomatic pressure on Washington to invoke stage II of Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO) process with regard to Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM).

When the US State Department had designated the LeT and the JeM as FTOs, it marked Pakistan being put in the Stage I regarding action taken against the LeT and the JeM. The Stage I indicates that the state concerned is “cooperating” with the USA for making sure that necessary action is being taken against the outfit designated as FTO.

The Stage II means when the state concerned is “not cooperating” with the USA in taking action against the FTOs. If the Stage II is invoked, the USA imposes a number of sanctions on the erring country and normally persuades the developed countries to follow suit. The trade and economic sanctions are also supplemented by a series of other tough measures, such as curbs on military and scientific equipment’s sale to the erring country.

Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan were in the stage II process of the FTO system of the USA, while Pakistan today has already come in Stage I.

According to well-placed sources here, Islamabad has of late been making announcements of taking action against the LeT and the JeM with an eye on the American FTO process as it fears that non-compliance may bring it closer to the Stage II. Pakistan Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar had earlier this week announced that it had taken action against the LeT and the JeM as these were “illegal” and functioning as “private armies”, a somersault from the oft-repeated Pakistan Government stand of describing these outfits as “Kashmiri freedom fighters”.

Pakistan is well aware of the fact that any economic and military sanctions on it from the USA would spell doom for it which is tottering and already on the verge of being a “failed state”. That is why, it is making all-out efforts to be seen by the international community that it is taking action against terrorist outfits on Pakistani soil. It is against this backdrop that Mr Jaswant Singh yesterday handed over a list of 30 India’s most wanted terrorists who are being harboured by the Pakistan Government for years.

Mr Jaswant Singh is understood to have made it clear to the American envoy that it would not budge from its stand unless Pakistan hand over these 30 terrorists, including Maulana Masood Azhar, five hijackers of IC-814, Dawood Ibrahim, Choota Shakil and a Khalistan Liberation Front (KLF) top man, to India.Back

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