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Pakistan rejects BRICS’ declaration
By Tariq Butt September 06, 2017
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ISLAMABAD: Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir on Tuesday rejected the BRICS declaration about “terrorist groups” in Pakistan.

BRICS — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — agreed in a joint declaration to strengthen cooperation against a range of terrorist organisations, including some allegedly based in Pakistan.

The meeting expressed concern over the security situation in the region and violence caused by the Taliban, Daesh, Al Qaeda and its affiliates including Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Haqqani network, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Muhammad, TTP and Hizb-ut-Tehrir.

Dastgir said there were no safe havens of terrorists in Pakistan. Rather such places exist in Afghanistan, he said. “Forty per cent of Afghanistan is the safe haven for terrorists.”

The defence minister said Pakistan’s armed forces were protecting and guarding the land, sea and air of the country, and were always alert to meet any threat from inimical forces.

In 43-page declaration, the BRICS leaders said that they would work together to improve global economic governance to foster a more just and equitable international order. They strongly condemned North Korea’s latest nuclear test and said the issue should only be settled through peaceful means and direct dialogue of all the parties concerned.

They called for comprehensive reform of the UN and the Security Council to make it more representative, effective and efficient, and to increase the representation of the developing countries so that it can adequately respond to global challenges.

Talking about listing of the terrorist outfits, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the BRICS countries had shown their concerns over the violent activities raised by these organisations.

Foreign Minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif’s planned visits to China and Russia in the wake of President Donald Trump’s announcement of his South Asia strategy have assumed added importance due to the Xiamen Declaration of BRICS relating to certain terrorist outfits.

“We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organisations; we have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting. That will have to change and that will change immediately,” Trump had stated last month, attracting a sharp reaction from Pakistan.

After unveiling of this strategy, the foreign minister, who on an invitation of his American counterpart was planning to visit Washington, delayed his trip. Instead, he announced that before going to the United States, he would embark upon a visit to Beijing, Moscow and Ankara to consult with them on Trump’s severe stand against Pakistan.

Obviously, prior to the foreign minister’s visits policy makers will be required to closely read and analyse the BRICS declaration to formulate their strategy and find out the difference between its focus and stress and that of Trump’s statement. The dates of the trips are yet to be firmed up.

While Trump had given a general, sweeping statement against Pakistan without naming any terrorist organisation, the BRICS declaration has listed such outfits. However, unlike the US president, the BRICS did not name Pakistan. But the reference to Haqqani Network, LeJ and JeM pertained to Pakistan although Islamabad has consistently vehemently repudiated any role of these organisations in terrorist activities in Pakistan or outside its territory.

China had defended Pakistan after Trump’s remarks, saying its neighbour was on the front line in the struggle against terrorism and had made great sacrifices and important contributions in the fight.

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