Pakistan has taken some steps to restrain anti-India terror groups but many groups targeting Afghanistan and India continue to operate from its soil, even as JeM’s Masood Azhar and 26/11 accused Sajid Mir remain free in the country, according to a report by the US Department of State.

“Pakistan took steps in 2020 to counter terror financing and restrain India-focused militant groups from conducting attacks. Pakistan convicted Lashkar e-Tayyiba (LeT) founder Hafiz Saeed and four other senior LeT leaders in multiple terrorism financing cases,” the 2020 Country Reports on Terrorism by US Department of State said.

However, it stated, “Groups targeting Afghanistan — including the Afghan Taliban and affiliated HQN, as well as groups targeting India, including LeT and its affiliated front organizations, and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) — continued to operate from Pakistani territory. Pakistan did not take action against other known terrorists such as JeM founder and UN-designated terrorist Masood Azhar and 2008 Mumbai attack “project manager” Sajid Mir, both of whom are believed to remain free in Pakistan.”

The report acknowledged Pakistan’s contribution towards Afghan peace process, particularly in reducing Taliban attacks against US forces, and adjudged its progress positively in relation to meeting Financial Action Task Force compliance. It noted that some madrasas in Pakistan continue to teach violent extremist doctrine.

In the context of India, the report acknowledged militancy activities in J&K and Maoist-affected areas. It said India did not have a notional policy for Countering Violent Extremism (CVE).

“The Ministry of Home Affairs is the lead agency for CVE and maintains a counterterrorism and counter-radicalization division,” the report stated. “There is no national CVE policy. State governments have the lead on CVE strategy. Consequently, efforts are uneven and led by local police departments, which often have limited interactions with community organizations and civil society. Five states (Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Telangana, and Uttar Pradesh) have reportedly formulated CVE strategies,” it said.

LeT, JeM, Hizbul Mujahideen, ISIS, al-Qa’ida in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) and Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen were identified as the major terror groups operating in India by the report.

“The National Investigation Agency examined 34 terrorism-related cases related to ISIS and arrested 160 persons, including 10 alleged Al Qaeda operatives from Kerala and West Bengal, in September. Officials remain concerned about internet use for terrorist recruitment and radicalization to violence, as well as for fomenting interreligious tensions. In 2020 there were multiple reports in the media and from the NIA of suspected cases of online terrorist radicalization, particularly in southern Indian states,” the report said.