US Congressman Ted Poe, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, who has tabled a Bill in the US Congress to designate Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism, spoke to Hector Kenneth, Managing Editor of NewsX. Excerpts:
Q: What was the trigger for you to propose this legislation?
A: Pakistan has not been a reliable ally (of the US). They play both sides and historically they have supported the US, but at the same time they have supported terrorism. This legislation requires the (US) President to give a specific report on Pakistan’s support to terror and within 30 days, the Secretary of State must justify why this should not pass. We need to haul up Pakistan. Pakistan has historically supported terrorism and we saw it when the ISI protected Osama Bin Laden. When the helicopter of the US crashed in Abbottabad, they provided intel to our enemies.
Q: What are the infractions that led to this legislation?
A: There are several examples of Pakistan supporting terrorists, like the Pakistan hideout of Osama Bin Laden just thousand yards away from their military base. Even ISI might have known that Osama would have been there. (Then) Taliban, the Haqqani network and Al Qaeda. The Pakistanis lied about the use of the money that the US was giving it. Pakistan was using it to support terror. They lied and cheated us about the funds given to them. These are some examples of ISI supporting terrorism.
Q: But Pakistan claims it is a victim of terror with reference to India’s charges against it.
A: India has been a reliable, stabilising influence in the region and this is why US-India relations are growing. Pakistan has been pretending to be reliable. Time has come to let everyone know that Pakistan is sponsoring terrorism. US has to support India in the reliability that they have shown to us. But Pakistan has always been unreliable and the world needs stabilisation in the region in which US supports India.
Q: What response have you got to your legislation?
A: Most in the Congress are realists and know the truth about Pakistan. We know that Pakistan is siding with our enemies. Pakistan is playing both sides, with the US and with the terrorists. We need to cut off the money that we give Pakistan. Remember the Congress has always said that they will investigate and know the facts that where the money has been used which was given by the US to ISI, it should not be used in the terrorism activities spread by Pakistan. Thus it will be a controversial legislation.
Q: India has described Pakistan as being in the Ivy League of terrorism. What is your response?
A: Wish I had thought of that label. That is the perfect label for Pakistan. It is shameful what they are doing.
Q: Would you support military action by India against Pakistan?
A: It is not for me to advise India, but Pakistan is causing mischief officially and through unofficial networks.