#Day27: ‘Violence Against Children, Civilians Is Terrorism,’ Pak Address To SAARC



Pakistan on Thursday launched a veiled attack on India amid rising number of casualties in Kashmir Valley in action by forces in last three weeks, saying use of torture against innocent children and violence against civilians qualifies as terrorism.

In his address to the SAARC interior ministers’ conference, Pakistan’s Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan lambasted the “use of excessive force” to suppress protests in Kashmir, without naming New Delhi.

“Using torture against innocent children and violence against civilians qualifies as terrorism,” said the minister, adding that there was a need to end an “extremist” mind set and instead try to solve regional issues with dialogue.

Nisar said like the attacks in Pathankot, Kabul, Mumbai and Dhaka, Pakistan too has lost many innocent lives due to terrorism. “The use of blame game has not benefited anyone for the past six decades.”

In response to Nisar’s statement, Union Home Minister made a more direct jibe aimed at the Pakistani government for its strong condemnation of popular Hizb commander Burhan Wani by Indian forces on June 8.

“One country’s terrorist cannot be a martyr or freedom fighter for anyone. I also speak for the entire humanity – not just for India or other SAARC members – in urging that in no circumstances should terrorists be eulogised as martyrs,” said Rajnath Singh speaking in Hindi at the conference, referring to earlier criticism the Indian state has levelled against Pakistan.

“There should be no glorification or eulogising of terrorists as martyrs.”

Singh called for “strongest action not only against terrorists or organisations but also against those individuals, organisations and nations”.

Stressing for greater regional prosperity and cooperation between South Asian countries, Singh, however, said that mounting threats and terror incidents endanger region’s peace and stability.

“Terrorism remains the biggest challenge and threat to our peace. South Asia continues to be deeply affected by this malady, as witnessed most recently in cowardly terrorist attacks in Pathankot, Dhaka, Kabul and other places,” Singh said.

The current strain in Indo-Pak relations was apparently evident when Singh came face-to-face with his Pakistani counterpart Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan for the first time today and the two leaders barely shook hands.

The two leaders barely touched their hands, not even a formal handshake, before Singh moved ahead to enter the meeting hall.

Rajnath also skipped the lunch being hosted by Khan after the meeting as the host had left the venue.

Earlier in the day, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif assured the Saarc conference that Pakistan will stand alongside its South Asian neighbours to eradicate corruption, organised crime and terrorism from the region.

“Pakistan on national grounds has been successful in curbing terrorism by implementing the National Action Plan and carrying out the operation Zarb-i-Azb,” said the premier.

“The success proves that Pakistan is committed towards wiping out terrorism from its territory,” he added.

He said Saarc countries should use their human and natural resources to promote peace and prosperity in the region.

“The Government of Pakistan wishes for peace in all countries across the region and has always supported Saarc in pursuit of its goals,” he said.

Sharif pressed on the importance of efficient transport and communication network in the region to ensure public welfare and economic growth.

SAARC Secretary General Arjun Bahadur Thapa, who belongs to Nepal, said the issues of drugs, terrorism, cybercrime and other international crimes should be addressed immediately.

He also appreciated Pakistan’s efforts to host the conference.

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