By Aamir Latif
KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) – Pakistan on Friday rejected its "unsubstantiated and baseless" inclusion on the US Child Soldiers Prevention Act (CSPA) list.
"Pakistan does not support any non-state armed group; nor any entity recruiting or using child soldiers," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement, insisting that Islamabad's efforts in fighting non-state armed groups including terror entities are "well recognised."
Washington on Wednesday added Pakistan and Turkey to the CASP list — a designation included in the State Department’s annual Trafficking in Person (TIP) report that ranks countries in various tiers in accordance with their efforts to eliminate trafficking.
The 2021 list includes Afghanistan, Burma, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Turkey, Venezuela and Yemen.
"The inclusion of Pakistan in the ‘CSPA List’ depicts a factual error and lack of understanding," said Islamabad. "No State institution was consulted by the US prior to the publication of the report. Nor were any details provided of the basis on which the conclusion was reached."
Overall, it said, Pakistan is committed to fighting this scourge both at the national and international levels.
"We have taken a range of legislative and administrative actions in that regard during the last one year, including the approval of Rules under the domestic Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants Acts; National Action Plan 2021-25 prepared jointly by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC); and enhancement of capacity building and inter-agency cooperation of Law Enforcement Agencies involved in anti-human smuggling," it said.
Pakistan said it has been "voluntarily" submitting information for the TIP report to the US since 2007 and has actively worked on implementing the practicable recommendations of the reports.
It urged the US to review the "baseless" assertions, especially concerning the unwarranted inclusion of Pakistan on the “CSPA List.”
"Pakistan’s views and perspective on the subject have been conveyed to the U.S. side. Pakistan would continue to remain engaged with the US government through bilateral channels for constructive dialogue on all issues of mutual interest," it said.
The CSPA prohibits the issuance of licenses for direct commercial sales of military equipment to listed countries, apart from preventing them to be included in several US programs, including International Military Education and Training, Foreign Military Financing, Excess Defence Articles, and Peacekeeping Operations.
The countries may avoid restrictions in case of a presidential waiver