Islamabad: As international pressure escalated on Pakistan to act against terror groups following a BRICS declaration, Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif has admitted that outfits like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) are operating from their soil.
“Friends (China) 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,” Asif said.
Pakistani media houses quoted him as saying this in an interview. Leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) had recently voiced serious concern over violence perpetrated by various terror groups including Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad.
Pakistan’s best friend China was also a part of the declaration. It is for the first time that China had agreed to include Pakistan-based terror groups in BRICS declaration.
Following the BRICS declaration, Pakistan had rejected it saying there was no “safe haven” for terrorists on its soil.
The Pakistan minister tried to dilute China’s role in the BRICS declaration saying that it should not be considered as China’s official stance as other countries – Russia, India, Brazil and South Africa – are also a part of the group.
Asif, however, praised China’s role in ensuring that the declaration also highlighted the name of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, which he claimed is based out of Afghanistan but carries out terrorist attacks in Pakistan.
The foreign minister said Pakistan needs to ask itself have they acted upon the National Action Plan (NAP) in letter and spirit.
“Did we take the measures we had decided on, besides Operation Zarb-i-Azb, Raddul Fassad and Khyber 4, during the last three years? Did we show the world that we acted according to the resolve we made in 2014?”
Clearly perturbed after the BRICS declaration and increasing pressure from the Trump administration, Asif said Pakistan must put its affairs in order, given that the “entire world is pointing fingers towards us.”
He went on to say that: “I am not making a political statement but telling you a fact: we will continue to face such embarrassment till the time we keep our eyes off these [militant] organisations in our country.”
“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,” he said.
Pakistan Army has done its part, said Asif, asking, “But 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?”