Islamabad: India’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh today said that terrorism remains the biggest challenge and threat to our peace. South Asia continues to be deeply affected by this malady, as witnessed most recently in cowardly terrorist attacks in Pathankot, Dhaka, Kabul and other places.
Rajnath was addressing the 7th Meeting of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Ministers of Interior/Home in Islamabad. Merely strong condemnation of terrorist attacks is not enough, he said in his speech that was censored by Pakistan.
Without directly targeting Pakistan where coinciding with the SAARC Summit, 26/11 mastermind and LeT founder Hafiz Saeed was part of protests in Lahore and the wife of Yasin Malik of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Fronttook part in a hunger strike in Islamabad, India’s home Minister said it needs to be ensured that terrorism is not glorified and is not patronized by any state. One country’s terrorist cannot be a martyr or freedom fighter for anyone. I also speak for the entire humanity- not just for India or other SAARC members – in urging that in no circumstances should terrorists be eulogised as martyrs. Those who provide support, encouragement, sanctuary, safe haven or any assistance to terrorism or terrorists must be isolated. Strongest possible steps need to be taken not only against terrorists and terrorist organisations but also those individuals, institutions, organisations or nations that support them. Only this will ensure that the forces engaged in promoting the heinous crime of terrorism against humanity are effectively countered.
The will and the mandate of international community against proscribed and wanted terrorists and their organisations must also be respected and implemented, India’s Home Minister said and went on to emphasise if we are to rid ourselves of terrorism, we will have to genuinely believe that attempts to distinguish between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ terrorists are misleading. No type of terrorism or support to it can be justified on any grounds whatsoever. Immediate and effective action is required against all those who support or encourage international terrorism in any way, whether they are state actors or non-state. Only then justice will be ensured for the victims of terrorist attacks such as in Mumbai and Pathankot. We must have the approach of ‘zero tolerance’ against any type of terrorism.
Earlier when Rajnath Singh’s Pakistani counterpart Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan barely shook hands with him when he reached the SAARC summit venue today. Both of them also skipped a lunch together.
In his address, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Thursday that his country is committed to jointly working with SAARC member countries for fighting terrorism, corruption and organised crimes.
Sharif cited Pakistan’s anti-terror operations in tribal areas and underlined the National Action Plan to emphasise his government’s determination to eliminate the scourge of terrorism.
He said the SAARC region , comprising Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, is blessed with tremendous human and natural resources. “So, SAARC can and should provide a platform to optimally harness the regional potential for peace and prosperity of our people.”
There has been lot of criticism of the Indian Home Minister in India as he went to Pakistan and addressed the SAARC conference when Pakistan was openly supporting and patronising terrorists and their activities in India and more particularly in Kashmir. The social networking platforms have gone viral with such criticism.