Mr. Speaker, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister was here this week to urge the White House to renew assistance to his country and plead for our help in talks with India. While I do not oppose open engagement with Pakistan, our position must be clear: Pakistan will not receive a dime of U.S. support if terrorists continue to live safely on their soil. For too long the opposite has been the case. Fortunately, President Trump has disrupted the status quo and suspended most of the funding we give to Pakistan, specifically calling them out for their support to terrorism. But more should be done.
The continued violence in Afghanistan is directly the result of Pakistan’s protection of the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and other murderous terrorists in the region. After 9/11, U.S. and allied forces had defeated the extremists in Afghanistan. But Pakistan opened its doors to Osama bin Laden, Mullah Omar, and the entire leadership of al-Qaeda and the Taliban. We know this because these terrorist thugs were found and killed in Pakistan. With Pakistani help, their terrorist networks were able to rebuild and launch an insurgency in Afghanistan that has killed thousands of Americans.
It is insulting that Pakistan’s Foreign Minister comes to Washington and dares to lecture us for holding them to account. Just yesterday, another American was killed fighting extremists in Afghanistan. Our nation continues to sacrifice to bring peace to Afghanistan, while leaders of the Taliban enjoy the shelter of Pakistan. If the Foreign Minister was truly interested in restoring the relationship between our two countries, he would accept responsibility and acknowledge that countless terrorists still live inside Pakistan. His country has been the epicenter for extremism for decades, where extremists are still able to hold massive public rallies to incite young men to violence. This isn’t conjecture, the evidence is well documented.
For example, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the founder of the U.S. and U.N.-designated terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba, operates freely in Pakistan. Despite his role in the 2008 Mumbai attack, he leads public rallies and can raise money for extremists causes. Yet, Pakistan, including its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, consistently defends Saeed and condemns U.S. counterterrorism efforts.
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister even claimed terrorist groups that target Pakistan have safe haven in Afghanistan under the U.S.’s watch. Yet it is Pakistani officials who somehow claim there is a ‘‘good’’ Taliban, while the U.S. makes no distinction. If the Foreign Minister wanted to earn our trust, his government could demonstrate good faith by taking action. This includes handing over Mr. Saeed, the leaders of the Taliban and Haqqani Network, and banning all extremist groups on its soil. But this is a fantasy. The hope that Pakistan would do the responsible thing ended a long time ago.
Now is the day of reckoning. All assistance to Pakistan must end, its Major Non-NATO Ally status must be terminated, and the State Department should immediately designate it as a state sponsor of terrorism. The gladhanding with Pakistani politicians cannot cover for the obvious misdeeds of their country. The Foreign Minister came to Washington emptyhanded and should return to Pakistan emptyhanded. Seventeen years of appeasing Pakistan has gotten us nowhere and a new course must be taken.
Turn out the lights—the party is over for Pakistan.
And that’s just the way it is.