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BRICS declaration to be studied before Asif’s visit to China, Russia

5 September 2017 No Comment

by Tariq Butt in The News, September 5, 2017
ISLAMABAD: 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.

The terrorist organizations listed in the statement of BRICS — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – are proscribed in Pakistan and are, therefore, not allowed to exist or work.

“We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organizations; 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 President 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 organization, the BRICS declaration has listed such outfits saying “we express concern over the security situation in the region and violence caused by the Taliban, the Islamic State [IS], Al-Qaeda and its affiliates, including the Haqqani Network, Lashkar-e-Taiba [LeJ], Jaish-e-Mohammad [JeM], Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan [TTP] and Hizbut Tahrir.”

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 organizations 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.

The BRICS declaration has also included the TTP in the list of terrorist outfits. Pakistan has repeatedly protested over the sponsoring of terrorism by the TTP, which emanates from Afghanistan as its top leaders are based in the neighbouring country. However, Pakistan’s protestations have fallen on deaf ears because the Afghan government has never done anything to arrest these hardened terrorists and hand them over to Pakistan to face justice. Islamabad has delivered more than once credible evidence and proofs to Kabul about their terrorist activities in Pakistan.

Pakistan has a special interest in restoring normalcy in Afghanistan but the US is not paying heed to its calls and instead keeps hurling allegations over it. However, the Xiamen declaration agreed to strengthen cooperation against a range of terror groups, deplored “all terrorist attacks worldwide”, condemned terrorism “in all its forms and manifestations wherever committed and by whomsoever and stresses that there can be no justification whatsoever for any act of terrorism”.

The Hizbut Tahrir was proscribed by Pakistan in 2004. According to Wikipedia, it was founded in 1964 in Jerusalem by Taqiuddin al-Nabhani, an Islamic scholar and appeals court judge from Palestine. Since then it has spread to more than 50 countries, and grown to a membership estimated to be between “tens of thousands” to “about one million”.

Hizbut Tahrir is active in Western countries, particularly in Britain, and also in several Arab and Central Asian countries, despite being banned by some governments.

The Haqqani network is an Afghan insurgent group using asymmetric warfare to fight against US-led NATO forces and the government of Afghanistan. Pakistan is often accused in regard to this outfit, a charge that Islamabad denies.https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/227887-BRICS-declaration-to-be-studied-before-Asifs-visit-to-China-Russia

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