WASHINGTON, Feb.22: Pakistan's abrupt defanging of terrorist leader Hafiz Saeed is a result of behind the scenes effort by the Trump administration led by a "new and tough sheriff in town" and a "skilled and receptive partner" in New Delhi who, together form a "mortal threat to Islamist terrorism everywhere," US President Donald Trump's Indian-American acolyte Shalabh Kumar has said.
Amid reports on Tuesday that the Pakistan government had taken the unprecedented step of canceling the licenses of weapons issued to Hafiz Saeed and his aides, Kumar pointed out that the terrorist had been living in the open in Pakistan in spite of a $10 million American bounty for information leading to his arrest and conviction, but it took only ten days of a new leadership in Washington DC to force Islamabad hand in getting serious about fighting Islamic extremism.
"Lost in the misleading reports about Muslim bans and debates about much-needed vetting on refugees from the Middle East has been the Trump administration's quiet but successful effort behind the scenes to advance policies that crack down on terrorism and the Islamist ideology that fuels it," Kumar wrote in a comment on Breitbart News, the pro-Trump media outlet, pointing out that up until the inauguration of Donald Trump, Pakistani officials considered Saeed, a quasi-official state hero because of his willingness to attack Pakistan's longtime nemesis, India.
"What changed? It is (Indian Prime Minster Narendra) Modi's insistence and Trump's instigation," Kumar said, citing Saeed saying Islamabad is helpless before the pressure from Trump and Modi. "On this issue, the terrorist is right. The Pakistani government correctly appreciates that, not only there's a new and tough sheriff in town, but that he's got a skilled and receptive partner. President Trump and Prime Minister Modi together are the worst enemies of terrorists."
Claiming to have introduced Trump and Modi for their first meeting in July 2016, Kumar described them as "kindred spirits: committed nationalists and willing to forego the niceties of the political elites in both countries to get things done on behalf of a population eager for more jobs and economic growth."
A Chicago entrepreneur who unabashedly espouses Hindu causes and organized a Trump rally in New Jersey under the aegis of the Republican Hindu Coalition, Kumar recalled that Trump promised at the event that India and the US would be "best friends" and "There won't be any relationship more important to us." After the election, Trump - revealingly - reached out to Modi before contacting the head of any major European nation, Kumar wrote, describing them as "proud unapologetic patriots and champions of entrepreneurialism, (who) have been friendly for a while."
The Trump loyalist, who is reported to have his eye on the US ambassadorship to India ("No comments," he said when asked about it) also took a swipe at the previous Obama administration, saying, "we must rejoice that the people replaced an Apologizer-In-Chief with a Commander-In-Chief. We ought to celebrate the fact that, finally, the international relationship exists to strike at the heart of an enemy that Obama's administration refused to even name."(TOI)
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