WASHINGTON/ISLAMABAD: The US and India on Friday teamed up against Pakistan, with the former acknowledging its efforts in the war against terror but blaming it for ‘adopting a selective approach’ and the latter terming it ‘the biggest violator of human rights’.
A day after the Pentagon announced that it was withholding $300 million in the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) to Pakistan, the State Department official praised Pakistan’s efforts but maintained that it needs to close all “safe havens of terrorists”.It asked Pakistan to take military action against all terrorist outfits, including those that target its neighbours.
“We have been very clear with the highest levels of the Government of Pakistan that they must target all militant groups and that includes those that target Pakistan’s neighbours. They must also close all safe havens,” deputy spokesman of the State Department Mark Toner said.
He added that Pakistan had made progress but “they’re going after groups, but selectively. We need to see them go after all groups and as I just said, even those groups that might not threaten Pakistan itself but threaten its neighbours.”
Referring to the Haqqani Network and its alleged involvement in terror activities in Afghanistan, he said, “We have urged the Government of Pakistan to address this and to pursue closer counterterrorism cooperation with Afghanistan against all groups that pose a long-term security threat to the region, not just to Pakistan.”
Answering a question about Pakistan’s efforts, Toner said the administration believes that Pakistan has taken and is taking steps to counter terrorist violence and certainly focusing on those groups that threaten its stability.
“They have shut down some of these safe havens. They have restored government control to parts of Pakistan that were used as terrorist safe havens for years,” he said adding, “These important steps have contributed to security interests in the region and have come at a cost of loss of Pakistani lives.”
Meanwhile, a day after a terse war of words with his Pakistani counterpart Chaudhry Nisar at the Saarc Interior/Home Ministers’ meeting in Islamabad on Thursday, Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh told the Indian parliament that “all of our prime ministers have done their best to improve relations with our neighbours, but this neighbour never learns.”
In response to Nisar’s remarks about the violation of human rights in Indian held Kashmir, Rajnath said Pakistan was the biggest violator of human rights. The Indian home minister said he had skipped aluncheon meeting as he ‘had not gone there to have lunch’.
“It is true that Chaudhry Nisar invited everyone for lunch. But then he left in his car. I also left. I have no complaints or grudges, as I had not gone there to have lunch,” he said.“I will not comment on whether Pakistan was right or wrong in not allowing coverage. I did not register any protest there. I will need to ask the foreign ministry about the protocol of past occasions,” he said.
According to the Press Trust of India (PTI), which quoted a government source, it was standard Saarc practice for the host country’s opening statements to be made public and open to the media, while the rest of the proceedings are in camera which allows for a frank discussion of issues.
—Originally published in The News