Date :30-Sep-2021

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THE latest United States Congressional report on terrorism has yet again proclaimed a truth that the entire world knows but inexplicably dithers on action. The report has identified Pakistan as a base of operations or target for numerous armed and non-State militant groups. The finding is further endorsement of what India has been telling the international community with truck-loads of proof. Pakistan playing a safe haven for proscribed militants is a reality that the world cannot afford to avoid much longer. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has a heap of dossiers presented by New Delhi as well as independent agencies tracking terrorism and its perpetrators. Pakistan has been hosting them like State guests, even hailing the dangerous Osama bin Laden as a martyr. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has refused to bring out Pakistan out of the ‘grey list’. Yet, geopolitics and independent interests of top powers ruling the veto at UNSC have ensured that Pakistan is let off the hook. The US Congressional report now has brought to fore details of the terror structure being operated from Pakistan under the State’s patronage. Given the situation in Afghanistan, the UN is expected to act now.
KEEPING in view the localised spread of new variants of the coronavirus, the Centre has acted wisely by extending all COVID containment measures till October 31. The health challenge calls for due diligence by the administration at all levels and the Government is taking no risks in this regard. The pandemic is still not over despite fall in number of active cases in many pockets. However, the spike in Kerala and some parts of Maharashtra is a clear indicator that the virus continues to affect people in varying intensity. Health officials are still in process of vaccinating largest possible numbers across the country. But it is a tedious task to cover all people due to reasons like vaccine hesitancy and misinformation campaigns by a few dirty elements in the society. Against this backdrop, the Government cannot afford to drop its guard and hence the further extension to the containment measures. Even though the disease is slowly marching towards becoming an endemic, as predicted by top health experts, nobody can afford to throw caution to the wind. The deadly second wave has already taught some harsh lessons. Self- protection remains the key for the country.