A Pakistani journalist is banned from leaving the country after revealing internal tensions over the military’s continued support of Islamic terrorists.
The journalist’s story revealed alarm by civilian officials that Pakistan is facing growing international condemnation for its military intelligence’s support of Islamic terrorists. Officials representing the civilian government reportedly told Pakistani military officials, they can no longer protect Islamic terror organizations from law enforcement.
Pakistan’s civil-military relations have a fraught history. Since its creation in 1948, Pakistan has undergone three successful military coups. Organizations like the Inter-Service Intelligence Agency (ISI) often marginally answer to civilian leadership, and have deep ties to Islamic terror organizations. Pakistan often relies on Islamic terror organizations to infiltrate and cause havoc in India.
The journalist’s article also revealed efforts by elements of ISI to free militants apprehended by civilian agencies for ties to terrorist attacks. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif reportedly wanted to continue prosecution of terror elements linked to the 2008 Mumbai attacks, and intended on relaying this message to the military.
Sharif himself was previously ousted in a military coup while serving as prime minister in 1999. The Pakistani journalist’s placement on the “no-exit list” may be representative of a larger battle brewing within Pakistan’s government.
The drama between the civilian and military branches comes amid an August decision by the Pentagon to deny $300 million in promised aid to Pakistan. U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter reportedly refused to certify that Pakistan met its obligations in pursuing Islamic terror organizations tied to the Taliban.
The withholding of Pentagon aid, indicates the U.S. grievances lie with the Pakistani military. “It is a way of sending a signal to the Pakistani military of what’s to come, in the sense that the United States is no longer willing to give blank checks to Pakistan,” former White House official and think tank expert Shamila Chaudhary told The Washington Post.
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