Fake US observations
PAKISTANI nation has to remain strong in order to absorb the after shocks of Pakistani PM Imran Khan’s decision not to compromise with the US to host their bases.
The US has given a major blow to Pakistan by adding it along with Turkey to its “Child Soldiers Prevention Act ‘’ (CSPA) list published in US State Department’s Annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report 2021.
Now it has become obvious that the US wants to impose strict sanctions on military assistance and participation of Pakistan in peacekeeping programmes.
The US has clearly come up with a stance to stop Pakistan from joining programs like International Military Education and Training, Foreign Military Financing, Excess Defence Articles and Peacekeeping Operations.
Beginning from 01 Oct 2021, and effective throughout fiscal year 2022, these restrictions will apply to Pakistan, which are based on mal-intentions of the US.
A few arguments must be presented in front of the world that Pakistani defence forces, police, other LEA’s and government-supported armed groups never used children for duty.
The basic age of recruitment in Pakistani security forces is above 18 years and the State department in Washington, defines the term “child soldier” as any person under 18 years of age who takes a direct part in hostilities as a member of governmental armed forces, police, or other security forces.
In Pakistan no one under 18 years has ever been recruited neither officially nor on a voluntary basis.
No “child soldier” in Pakistan has ever served or is serving in any capacity, including in a support role, such as a “cook, porter, messenger, medic or guard”.
Sitting government in Pakistan has taken a range of legislative and administrative actions on the subject matter.
The move of the US to add Pakistan in the CSPA list is based on fake observations by US government personnel and foreign-funded local and international NGOs.
The countries included in the 2021 CSPA list includes Afghanistan, Burma, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Turkey, Venezuela and Yemen.
Pakistan and Turkey are added for the first time in this list. The CSPA was first introduced in 2010.
The whole world recognizes Pakistan’s efforts in fighting non-state armed groups including terrorist entities.
A question arises that how without any consultation with Pakistani state institutions by the US prior to publication of the report, can add Pakistan in the list.
Apparently, it looks that the inclusion of Pakistan in the CSPA List is a factual error and lack of knowledge. Primarily, the US has not shared any sort of details on what basis the conclusion was reached.
In order to understand the commitment of Pakistan on the issue US would have focused on the measures taken in this regard by Pakistan like approval of Rules under the Domestic Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants Acts; National Action Plan 2021-25 prepared jointly by Federal Investigation Agency and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
Here it is also pertinent to mention that Pakistan had been not only voluntarily submitting information for the TIP Report to the US Government since 2007 but has actively worked on implementing the tangible recommendations of these reports.
The US has to give due importance to Pakistan on International matters. Pakistan wishes to remain engaged with the US through different channels for constructive dialogue on all issues of mutual interest but at the same time Pakistan wishes that concerned authorities in the US will review the baseless assertions made in the TIP Report and especially with regard to unjustified addition of Pakistan in the CSPA List.
The reaction from the Pakistan is quite evident with the demand to remove it from this list as earlier by American Presidential waiver.
Being an analyst, I can categorically say that in the present scenario in the region this move by the US can affect the bilateral ties and mutual understanding between the two countries.
Without giving a proper power-sharing formula and quick retreat by America from Afghanistan has already raised a question mark on its hegemonic designs.
Such kind of baseless allegations on its allies such as Pakistan and Turkey can further make the things complicated.
The world is fully aware of the fact that Pakistan is a responsible state, with a military which is playing a leading role in UN Peacekeeping missions around the globe.
—The writer is contributing columnist, based in Islamabad.