Washington: The US has welcomed reports that Pakistan is contemplating banning several terrorist organisations including the Hafiz Saeed-led Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and the Haqqani network, calling it an important step towards eliminating terrorist activities in the country.
"We welcome the reports that the Government of Pakistan plans to outlaw the Haqqani network, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, and I think about 10 other organisations linked to violent extremism," State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters.
"If they go forward with this, it is an important step, certainly, towards eliminating terrorist activity in Pakistan," she said, adding that Secretary of State John Kerry had a very good visit to Pakistan where he talked to the government there about counter-terrorism and on how the two countries could work together more closely.
According to reports, Pakistan plans to ban 10 terror outfits, including the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) led by Saeed, the mastermind of the Mumbai terror attacks, and the dreaded Afghan-based Haqqani Network, a move seen by experts as a "paradigm shift" in the country's security policy in the wake of the Peshawar school massacre.
"Certainly, this would be an important step going forward. We certainly believe that if this goes forward, that it would be an important step," Ms Harf said.
"We have a long history of close cooperation with Pakistan on counter-terrorism efforts. We've been very clear with the Pakistani government that they need to crack down and go after all terrorist groups that threaten them, threaten their people - their people are, unfortunately, the victims of more terrorist attacks than, people probably anywhere else," she said.
"It is an ongoing conversation, certainly, but this would be a very important step," she added.
Secretary Kerry, she said, had a successful visit to Pakistan.
"He had a number of conversations, not just about counter-terrorism issues - although that was a huge focus, and obviously wanted to personally express his condolences over the horrific attack in Peshawar - but also about the economic issues and other issues," she said.
"It's a broad relationship that goes beyond security. I think that was a really key part of what he wanted to focus on when he was there. The banning of these terrorist groups is obviously for the government of Pakistan to decide on, but it was a very good visit," the spokesperson added.