ISLAMABAD, Aug 4 (APP): Minister for Interior Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Thursday said it was important to respect fundamental human rights of people and no country could suppress legitimate freedom struggles in the name of fight against terrorism.
Terrorism had become a buzzword but no country could suppress the freedom movements and open fire at innocent unarmed civilians on the pretext of terrorism, he said while referring to escalating tension in Indian-Occupied Kashmir which has witnessed brutal atrocities for the last several weeks.
Addressing a press conference here, Nisar said in an
unprecedented move and in his capacity as head of Pakistani
delegation, he made the country statement during the 7th Meeting of Interior/Home Ministers from South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries, which concluded on Thursday.
The minister, who chaired the meeting, called on regional countries to differentiate between terrorism and freedom movements sanctified by the United Nations (UN) Security Council.
The meeting was attended by home ministers of Bhutan, India and Sri Lanka and deputy home ministers of Afghanistan, the Maldives and the Home Secretary of Nepal.
Bangladesh was represented by its High Commissioner based in Islamabad.
Nisar said he drew attention of SAARC member states towards use of brutal force against unarmed civilians, who were engaged in the struggle against foreign occupation.
He said, “Pakistan itself has been the biggest victim of terrorism and instead of engaging in a blame game and taking swipes at each other, we should take time out to reflect and sit down together and try to work out problems and reservations which we might have towards each other.”
“Any apprehensions about Pakistan were comprehensively cleared in the meeting,” he said, adding that it was necessary to bring Pakistan’s point of view forward.
“It was necessary to answer Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Pakistan is open to dialogue but with dignity and respect,” he said. It was for those who put conditions and sub-conditions for initiating dialogue.
“There is a conflict of opinion on definition of terrorism, and many countries were facing the issue of terrorism. However, the difference between freedom movements and terrorism is because of different perspectives of the nations,” he said while responding to a question.
The minister said during the meeting, the incidents of Mumbai, Dhaka, and Pathankot were mentioned and he reminded that the Army Public School (Peshawar) and Charsadda University terrorist attacks and Iqbal Park (Lahore) blast, where innocent children and school teachers were killed, could not be ignored.
He said terrorist activities were not only restricted to India, Afghanistan or Bangladesh as scores of terrorist incidents, taking place in Pakistan, were equally condemnable.
He asserted,”Pakistan faces terrorism and blatant interventions from across the borders.”
He said personal and nationalist agendas should be kept on the backburner as it would not serve and advance the objectives of SAARC.
Replying to a question, Nisar pointed out that the meeting was held in a conducive environment and its agenda got completed.
He said forums like SAARC were important for initiation of a dialogue.
The minister said the meeting also focused on a number of areas related to terrorism, narcotics, maritime piracy and other issues.
The meeting commended the efforts of Immigration Authorities and Interior/Home Secretaries from SAARC member states who met in Islamabad on August 2-3.
He said among others, the ministers approved recommendation of the Interior/Home Secretaries for issuing three years validity SAARC Visa Exemption Stickers to GS Staff working at SAARC Secretariat.
The Sri Lankan delegation offered to host 8th Interior/Home Ministers and Secretaries meeting. The offer was welcomed by the member states and the next meeting of the interior ministers of SAARC would be held in Sri Lanka.