Europe discriminating against India on issue of Pak terror

The war in Ukraine is troubling. There are excesses by both sides and over time both, if not Russia alone, may be found by the International Court of Justice to have committed war crimes. The deliberate destruction of Ukrainian civilian infrastructure is extremely unacceptable, as well. While all this may be concluded, does it automatically […]

The war in Ukraine is troubling. There are excesses by both sides and over time both, if not Russia alone, may be found by the International Court of Justice to have committed war crimes. The deliberate destruction of Ukrainian civilian infrastructure is extremely unacceptable, as well. While all this may be concluded, does it automatically entail that Russia is a state sponsor of terrorism? This is according to a very recent resolution passed by the European Union parliament. But then Pakistan is not?
There are major questions whether such a designation on Russia can really stand up in international law. But let us say for the purposes of argument that such a recent designation by Europe about Russia is accepted. Then surely, by what has taken place out of Pakistan for decades, Brussels as a matter of evenhandedness on its part must now more than ever put forward the same parliamentary resolution applying to Islamabad? If it is not willing to do so, according to all indications, then what gives?
But first let us recap some important aspects of history. According to Heinz Becker in a piece written for Parliament, he heads it with the statement, “Why does the EU continue to gloss over Pakistan’s state-sponsored terrorism?” Becker, who for many years was a Member of the European Parliament, was also on its committee of civil liberties, justice and home affairs. He added in his 2018 piece that: “The Islamic Republic of Pakistan has long been accused of harbouring terrorist organizations. In 2008, the Brookings Institute named Pakistan as the ‘world’s most active sponsor of terrorist groups.’”
A worrisome detail reminds of this. Osama bin Laden, one of the world’s most notorious terrorists, lived in Pakistan for years. All with the knowledge of Pakistan authorities and/or those very close to them. Does that count with Europe as his actions regarding 9/11 led to Europeans within NATO structures mobilizing to Afghanistan to root out his supporters? And European troops taking on casualties then and in the follow-up years of attempts at pacifying the country from this terrorism you would then have thought the European Parliament on this tragedy alone would have designated Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism long ago. And especially since it has set the bar by Russia’s activities in Ukraine.
Then certainly not to forget about is the bloody attack emanating out of Pakistan on the Taj Hotel in Mumbai and at other locations in 2008. Even a thorough and balanced analysis by the International Centre of Counter-Terrorism states in its conclusion about the sources of the attack, “…that state actors did indeed have a hand in the attack. Those actors being connected to the Pakistan government.” It further dismisses Islamabad’s contention that it had absolutely nothing to do with this bloody travesty against humanity that resulted in not only the death and harm of hundreds of many Indian citizens, but foreign passport holders, as well. Does the blood of those count to Brussels?
A 2021 piece by the Economic Times had the headline: “Pakistan should take credible steps to end state-sponsored terrorism: India at UNHRC.” This was stated by the representative of the Indian government mission to the UN Human Rights Council and reflects Indian foreign policy. Yet, as S. Jaishankar, the Indian foreign minister so appropriately said, Europe is too often interested in European matters and not enough on matters such as those that seriously impact other countries, including the likes of India. Might that recent EU parliament resolution dealing with Moscow exclusively and not Islamabad further support his contention?
But what is a state sponsor of terrorism by definition? According to encyclopedia.com, there are two general definitions. “One refers to governments that support or conduct terrorism against other governments. The other refers to governments that conduct terrorist acts against their own citizens.”
Clearly, Pakistan meets one of these definitions. Yet the US State Department definition leads to coming up with a list of only four countries that meet that category. They are Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Syria. Note, no Pakistan yet; also no Russia which the US has restrained itself from designating as such.
Interestingly, according to Outlook, “While the EU does not have a legal framework to declare a country ‘state sponsor of terror’, countries like the United States and Canada have such frameworks.” But the EU Parliament nevertheless designated Russia as is, but completely left Pakistan out despite the evidence as previously stated that indicates Pakistan’s eligibility to be added to this list.
For the UN, it seems mute on this. In the UN’s official statements through its Office of Counter Terrorism, it avoids the term “state sponsor of terrorism” unlike the US—a US that at least at one time described Pakistan as a safe haven for terrorists.
Additionally, in a July 2016 statement in the US House of Representative meeting of subcommittees on terrorism and Pacific affairs, the chairman of the latter stated this in his introductory statements, “As we all know, the United States has spent tens of billions in taxpayer dollars in the form of aid to Pakistan since 9/11, all in the hope that Pakistan would become a partner in the fight against terrorism. Unfortunately, despite this significant investment, Pakistani military and intelligence services are still linked to terrorist groups.”
What is this also telling us? The evidence is really mounting that the overall West and beyond needs to seriously consider designating Pakistan as state sponsor of terrorism. If a western parliament can designate Moscow as such, then surely it can do so for Pakistan given all the evidence about Islamabad’s actions?
If the West, especially Brussels, is not willing to do so, then this can be clearly said, also possibly in reference to the UN Secretariat: It is showing a shameful degree of hypocrisy. And what bothers the West so much directly on terrorism gets its undivided attention, but what more specifically concerns India does not get the same attention, level and consistency of support?
What kind of just world order is this, New Delhi might then ask? And what kind of international law is it and whose? To fill in this gaping hole in justice and global anti-terrorism, Pakistan must be designated as a state sponsor of terrorism. And efforts to this end should start with the European Parliament, now in face of recent developments there. Nothing less should be requested in this other critical war—the war on terrorism, including the part impacting the Indian subcontinent.
Peter Dash is an educator based in Southeast Asia. He is a former Associate at Harvard University’s Center for International Affairs and has worked in the banking, construction, defense, engineering, and other sectors.