Referring to the recently-adopted BRICS declaration against terrorist groups, Pakistan’s Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal on Monday said the declaration contained “nothing new”. China’s policy towards Pakistan has not changed, the minister said as he addressed a press conference after visiting Quaid-i-Azam’s mausoleum in Karachi to pay respect to the country’s founder on his death anniversary. “The declaration made by BRICS is the same as the one made at the Heart of Asia conference. There is no change in China’s policy (towards Pakistan in the declaration),” Dawn reported. “Pakistan was in attendance at the Heart of Asia conference. They have copied the declaration that was made then,” Iqbal said, adding that the Chinese government has made its commitment and friendship to Pakistan clear.
The minister added that the BRICS declaration was not against Pakistan. Rather, the declaration reinforces Pakistan’s stance that banned organisations are not accepted by the country and therefore, are not part of Pakistan’s policy. “There is no reason to worry,” the minister said. Earlier this month, the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa that make up the BRICS grouping named militant groups allegedly based in Pakistan as a regional security concern, calling for their patrons to be held to account. The Taliban, Islamic State, Al Qaeda and its affiliates, including Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Haqqani network, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, TTP and Hizbut Tahrir were mentioned in the declaration. “We have to be aware of those political elements that are trying to lead us towards anarchy,” Iqbal said, adding that “Pakistan is facing external dangers”. “These (dangers) can only be battled through internal stability and security,” the minister added.
Pakistan is currently facing international scrutiny with the US and the BRICS nations pinpointing its role in harbouring terrorists in the country. Last month, US President Donald Trump had lambasted Pakistan for being a “safe haven” for terrorists groups. Pakistan had rejected his comments strongly, calling them “hostile and threatening”.