Under pressure following BRICS declaration in China that named Pakistan-based terrorist groups like Lashkar-e-taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) for causing violence in the region, Islamabad seems to be finally mulling over restricting the activities of these outfits.
Underlying the need for Pakistan to act against LeT and JeM, newly-appointed Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif on Tuesday said that the country needs to restrict the activities of these terror groups so that it can tell the world community that it has put its “house in order”.
Asif said that BRICS nations' concerns about the terrorist groups 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.
The minister indicated that Pakistan could no longer afford to “test” friends such as China.
"Friends should not be tested, particularly in the changed scenario. Instead, we should impose some restrictions on the activities of elements like LeT and JeM, so that we can show the global community that we have put our house in order," Dawn News quoted Khwaja Asif as telling Geo News while reacting to the BRICS declaration that raised "regional security concern" over the militant groups operating in Pakistan.
"We need to ask ourselves have we 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?" he added.
“As long as we turn a blind eye to these organisations in our country we will continue to face such embarrassments,” Asif said.
He reiterated that Pakistan must put its affairs in order as the "entire world is pointing fingers towards us."
"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 organisations in our country," he said.
"We need to make a clean break from our past; in 1979, we made a wrong decision and acted like 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 added.
"We express concern on the security situation in the region and violence caused by the Taliban, ISIL/DAISH, Al Qaeda and its affiliates including Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Haqqani network, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, TTP (Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan) and Hizb ut-Tahrir," said the BRICS Xiamen declaration, adopted at the end of the five-nation BRICS plenary that was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Presidents Xi Jinping of China, Vladimir Putin of Russia, Michel Temer of Brazil and Jacob Zuma of South Africa.
Asif will pay an official visit to China on Friday, where he will hold talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.