Pakistan using "nuclear umbrella" to protect militant groups, expert tells US Senate

Washington, May 27: Pakistan has been using its nuclear umbrella to protect militant organisations like the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), which is the “most lethal terrorist group operating in and from South Asia,” an expert on extremist groups in South Asia has told the US Senate.

“If it weren’t for those nuclear weapons, Pakistan would have been sorted out with far less complexity. It’s their nuclear umbrella that they use their militant groups safely,” the Dawn quoted Dr. Christine Fair, a professor at Georgetown University’s Center for Peace and Security Studies, as telling the Senate panel.

Senator Ben Cardin, a Democrat, noted that “Pakistan is critically important for many reasons, not the least of which its nuclear capacity”.

“Pakistan is a unique country … we are constantly having to make tradeoffs with Pakistan. Our only long-term hope, quite frankly, is that we can continue to provide investments that will allow the civilians over time period to take control of security governance,” Dr Fair responded.

In her testimony to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, she said: “Given that Pakistan is unlikely to be induced to abandon its reliance upon militancy under its nuclear umbrella for both external and internal reasons, the international community -including the United States-should abandon its Panglossian optimism that additional foreign assistance or security assistance will shift Pakistan’s strategic calculus away from using LeT or other militants to service its internal and external goals.”

“For Pakistan, LeT is an existential asset in the same way that it is an existential enemy for countries like India and even the United States. This suggests an urgent need to conceptualise and implement a robust threat containment strategy,” Dr Fair added. (ANI)