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Neighbouring country fuelled terror fire in Pakistan: Nisar

Says some Indo-US agreements affecting Pakistan

By our correspondents
February 22, 2015
WASHINGTON: Minister for Interior Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has said that the neighbouring country had fuelled the fire of terrorism in Pakistan.
“We believe terrorists should be known by their misdeeds and not by their religious affiliation,” Nisar, who represented Pakistan at the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism, said.
The interior minister, flanked by Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Jalil Abbas Jilani, was briefing journalists at the end of his three-day visit to Washington. He noted that some Indo-US agreements were affecting us.
“It is the US prerogative to have relations with members of the international community. But there is a fallout for Pakistan in the United States’ advancing relations with India through certain agreements. There is an imperative for Washington to maintain a strategic balance in the region,” he added.
The minister welcomed President Barack Obama’s emphasis that terrorism was not linked to any religion, saying this clear-cut stance would help fight against terror. It was a corroboration of Pakistan’s stand — and a significant step in terms of clarity as well as towards forming a united front against militancy.
The comments by Nisar followed Obama’s categorical articulation that militants like al-Qaeda and ISIS operatives did not represent Islam and that the United States was not at war with Islam.
During the visit, Nisar also had the opportunity to discuss Pakistan-US ties and present Islamabad’s views and concerns about the region in meetings with US National Security Adviser Susan Rice, Secretary of State John Kerry and Special Representative Daniel Feldman.
Nisar said leaders at the summit also shared Pakistan’s view that the underlying causes of terror “including political disputes” needed to be addressed and that terrorism could not be wiped out through military means alone. He particularly referred to the Palestinian and Kashmir disputes as among the causes that bred extremism and militancy.
As a vital international player in counterterrorism, Pakistan meaningfully participated in the White House summit. Nisar also reminded participants of the high cost the country had paid in terms of loss of human lives and economy.
The minister said on his return to Islamabad he would propose to the government to host a regional conference, where South Asian and regional countries could discuss ways to combat violent extremism comprehensively.
On his bilateral meetings with top American officials, Nisar described them as “positive”.
During the meetings, the minister highlighted how Pakistan had been trying to grapple with the multiple challenges facing the country.
Nisar also underlined the importance of clarity and coordination with regard to Afghanistan.
The US officials were positive towards Pakistan, and recognised the country’s critical role and sacrifices in the fight against terror.
Citing the US attention towards Pakistani concerns, Nisar said, President Obama had called Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif twice, once before and then again after the conclusion of his visit to New Delhi last month to take the Pakistani leader into confidence.
The US acknowledges that Pakistan has a vital role — and that Pakistan is a very important strategic partner of the international community.
When questioned that India wanted to highlight its often-propagated threat from Pakistan soil but failed to do so at the White House Summit this week, the minister responded that in contrast to the Indian infatuation with linking Pakistan to terror, wherever it might occur, Islamabad talks about solutions to problems.
He expressed the hope that Indian foreign secretary’s planned visit to Pakistan would lead to its logical conclusion for peace. “We will meet the Indian foreign secretary with an open mind — instead of indulging in a blame game, we will meet with an open mind.”
He hoped that New Delhi would also demonstrate a positive spirit, towards forging peace. “We believe in peace and would like to have good relations — but it takes two to tango — I hope India will respond in the same manner.”
Earlier, the United States National Security Adviser Susan Rice, in a meeting with Minister for Interior Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, appreciated the sacrifices and commitment of Pakistan in the fight against terrorism and extremism.
President Obama’s Special Assistant on Afghanistan and Pakistan, Jeff Eggers, joined Susan Rice.
The two leaders exchanged views on matters of mutual interest in the bilateral and regional context.
Expressing satisfaction on the state of play in the bilateral relationship, both the sides agreed to continue the momentum of cooperation generated in the wake of last ministerial session of the Strategic Dialogue process held in Islamabad.
Noting the timely US initiative to convene the Summit on Countering Violent Extremism, Nisar apprised Rice of the ongoing military operations and steps being taken in follow-up to the National Action Plan to eliminate terrorism.
Rice commended the resolve of the leadership and the people of Pakistan to deal with terrorism in a comprehensive manner. Rice assured the interior minister of the continued US support for Pakistan’s efforts to eliminate terrorism.