In a first, Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif has accepted that internationally banned terror groups like LeT and JeM are operating from Pakistani soil.
In a first, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif has accepted that internationally banned terror groups like LeT and JeM are operating from Pakistani soil. In an interview with Pakistan’s Geo News on Tuesday, Asif also warned the country will have to face “embarrassment” if terror groups like LeT and JeM are not reined in. For years, India has accused Pakistan of providing a safe haven to these terror groups. Asif’s admission makes New Delhi vindicated.
The first of its kind admission from a top Pakistani leader comes in the wake of BRICS declaration 2017 condemning Pakistan-based terror groups. “We, in this regard, express concern on the security situation in the region and violence caused by the Taliban, ISIL/DAISH, Al-Qaida and its affiliates including Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Haqqani network, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, TTP and Hizb ut-Tahrir,” the BRICS declaration said.
Asif’s admission also comes almost a year after the cowardly attack by Pakistan-based terrorists on an army camp in Uri sector of Jammu and Kashmir on September 18 last year. The attack in the wee hours had martyred 19 Indian soldiers. The ghastly attack forced India, not only to launch surgical strikes on terror launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir but also a diplomatic offensive to expose Islamabad’s lies on terrorism in front of the world.
In the last one year, Pakistan has lost favour from old ally the United States, left embarrassed by its all-weather ally China, which signed on the BRICS declaration, despite opposing the inclusion of the names of Pakistan-based terror groups earlier.
Warning for Pakistan
During the Geo News programme, Asif called for tough action against these terror groups, that target India. “We need to tell our friends that we have improved our house. We need to bring our house in order to prevent facing embarrassment on the international level,” Asif told Geo News, days ahead of his visit to Beijing.
While referring to the BRICS conference in Goa last year when India had reportedly lobbied for inclusion of these outfits in the BRICS declaration then, Asif told the channel, “friends should not be tested [every time], particularly in the changed scenario”.
“Instead, we should impose some restrictions on the activities of the elements like LeT and JeM, so that we can show the global community that we have put our house in order,” he said. Asif’s confession comes as a surprise as soon after the BRICS declaration, Pakistan’s defence minister had denied the presence of any terror group on its soil.
Surprisingly, Asif also said Pakistan needs to look within to find out if it acted on its action plan against terrorism in “letter and spirit”. Claiming he was not making a political statement, Asif said Pakistan will continue to face embarrassment like BRICS declaration unless the country act against these groups.
Needs clean break from the past
“We need to make a clean break from our past; in 1979, we made a wrong decision and acted as a proxy for the entire next decade. After 9/11, we again made a wrong decision and adopted a war which was never ours. We have bore uncountable losses of lives and properties in this war,” PTI quoted him as saying.
Against terrorism, Asif said, Pakistan Army has done its part, but asked “did we do our work; did we implement the NAP, did we complete the process of de-radicalisation, did we bring the activities of banned outfits to a halt or are they active and even participating in politics with changed names?”