Amid India’s insistence on Pakistan bringing to book the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attacks, Islamabad on Thursday said the groups responsible for 26/11 were not its “friend” and it believed that these outfits had to be “checked, curtailed and shut”.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who is on a visit here, said his country’s enlightened self-interest was to normalise ties and live in peace with India.
Organisations that carried out the Mumbai attacks “are certainly no friends to Pakistan, because through those acts they not only killed people, but they could have triggered off something more serious than that,” he said in his address to the Washington-based think tank, Council on Foreign Relations.
“We have to guard against that mindset. In the interest of stability and peace in the region, it is in the interest of Pakistan’s enlightened self-interest to normalise and live in peace with India.
“The government of Pakistan believes that these organisations have to be checked, curtailed and shut,” Mr. Qureshi said.
His comments assume significance in the wake of India’s insistence that the composite dialogue process can be resumed only if Pakistan acts against the perpetrators.
But Mr. Qureshi said Pakistan wanted an intensive dialogue without any condition.
“It doesn’t take much genius to understand that terrorist threats require more intensive dialogue between South Asian neighbours, accompanied by a sincerity of purpose and resolving disputes, rather than pauses and conditionalities.”
As the region was facing a serious threat from terrorism, he said, it made no sense for one country to squander resources by threatening the other rather than pooling them to fight terrorism together.
“Instinctive reactions, coupled with hasty and unsubstantiated accusations, strengthen the very forces that we profess to defeat,” he said.
“It is fine to move beyond the rhetoric. Each country has to stand up to terrorism and be counted. Cold War calculations to gain short-term advantages have no relevance in these times. Long-term interests of all countries of the region lie in promoting stability and working towards socio-economic uplift of the people of the region,” Mr. Qureshi said.
To a question, he said the Indo-U.S. civilian nuclear deal was discriminatory.
“And when you sign agreements that are discriminatory in nature, it does not help,” he said in a direct reference to the deal President George W. Bush signed with India last year.
Taking on Taliban
Mr. Qureshi also said Pakistan would not give any “physical or political space” to any terrorist organisation in the country.
“We have no choice. For our own security and for protection of our people, we have to get rid of these safe havens.”