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MP asks UK to do more to help Pakistan after APS attack

Pakistani concerns about BLA and HT raised in parliament; connecting Islam with terrorists wrong and helpful to hate-mongers

By our correspondents
January 28, 2015
LONDON: A Conservative party parliamentarian has called for extra support from the UK government to Pakistan after the “horrific, evil and brutal attack” in Peshawar, which killed nearly 150 children and teachers.
In his parliamentary debate on the attack, Rehman Chishti MP asked the UK government to consider granting technological assistance to tackle terrorism and greater international cooperation to deal with extremist groups.
Rehman Chishti, a former aide to Benazir Bhutto Shaheed, drew attention to the large number of refugees from Afghanistan, which unofficial figures suggest “could be more than 3.5 million”, and is the largest protracted refugee group in the world.
International cooperation is also needed to tackle extremist groups which may operate from abroad, Mr. Chishti told the House of Commons. Chishti highlighted “real concerns about some elements” of the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) who “it is said are cooperating with extremists to enact violence in Pakistan,” along with concerns about Hizbut Tahrir, which has attempted to recruit Pakistani military officials in order to take over the country through a coup.
News reports have said that the Pakistan Army Chief General Raheel Sharif had raised the issue of Baloch nationalists operating from London and inciting acts of violence in Balochistan against the Pakistani installation and civilians.
Chishti spoke about Pakistan’s role on the frontline on terrorism, with nearly 70,000 civilians and over 6000 security forces killed in Pakistan since 2003. He asked the foreign minister about additional help that the UK government could provide to support Pakistan in this difficult time.In particular, his speech referred to the major challenges facing Pakistan along the porous border with Afghanistan where “around 40,000 make the crossing every day putting pressure on security checks, especially at the two crossings at Torkham and Chaman.”
Mr. Chishti said Pakistan

“would appreciate assistance to enable them to monitor the border more effectively, including the provision of additional technology and intelligence gathering and sharing.” This may include biometric scanners, night goggles and GSM intelligence gathering.
The MP also highlighted the continual threat from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), and the assistance that the UK has provided to develop counter terrorism capabilities.Mr. Chishti said in the debate that “the Peshawar attack was the worst terrorist atrocity that Pakistan has suffered and only thorough cooperation and collaboration, standing shoulder to shoulder with one of our key partners who we share a long history with can terrorism be defeated.”
Chishti said the UK “has continued to stand shoulder to shoulder with those affected by terrorism” and stressed the importance of referring to those who cause such atrocities simply as “terrorists and extremists,” and not Islamic extremists or Islamic terrorist “so that we do not link them to Islam which is what these groups want”.
He said: “Terrorist groups such as the Taliban claim to be Islamic, but it is an interpretation, which has no resemblance to Islam and is rejected by an overwhelming majority of Muslims around the world.”
The Conservative MP for Gillingham said he has been accused of being a “non-Muslim” for denouncing terrorists and extremists.Rehman Chishti told the Commons he often received emails making claims against him after he appeared on television and labeled those behind atrocities as terrorists. He warned that connecting them with Islam was what terrorists desired and gave them credibility by linking a “great religion with their evil acts”.