'Pakistan has zero tolerance for terrorism'
Pakistan's High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit spoke to the press in New Delhi. Photograph: (AFP)
Pakistan on Monday said it was willing to take action against terrorist forces operating out of the country provided it was given concrete evidence.
While speaking to the press in New Delhi, Pakistan's High Commissioner to India, Abdul Basit, criticised India for trying to isolate it globally on the issue of terrorism and said sustained diplomacy could improve relations between the two countries, news agency PTI reported.
Basit said his country was being unnecessarily being blamed for the Uri terror attacks and called for an international probe before drawing a premature conclusion. He instead maintained that his country had "zero tolerance" for terrorism and did not need "misplaced jingoism and hypernationalism" to pursue its foreign policy objectives.
He reiterated Pakistan's old stand that the "root cause" for all problems between India and Pakistan was the issue of Jammu and Kashmir which "has made us mutually antagonistic. Let its just resolution unite us in peace and prosperity."
"How on earth is it possible to isolate a country on terrorism when that country itself is the worst victim of terrorism," Basit said at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.
"As far as Pakistan is concerned there is zero tolerance for terrorism. When Uri attack was underway, Pakistan was being blamed, when we were not knowing as to what was happening. We didn't know what was happening on ground, and we were referred to as a terrorist state," Pakistan's High Commissioner to India said.
Asked about the deterioration of Indo-Pak relations after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen chief Burhan Wani, Basit said "We have seen time and again as to how the development in Jammu and Kashmir has affected the Indo-Pak relations. To claim that the hundreds and thousands who attended Burhan Wani's funeral were instigated by Pakistan is wrong. We need to move from symbolism to substance and from conflict management to conflict resolution. If would serve better purpose if we tone down the rhetoric and build new bridges of trust." Nawaz Sharif had slammed India for Burhan Wani's death at the 71st United Nations General Assembly in New York in September.
The Pakistan's high commissioner's statement comes amid increasing international pressure to take action against terrorist groups in its country. US state department deputy spokesperson Mark Toner had said last week that his country was pushing Islamabad to take action against terrorist groups and pushing for more dialogue between India and Pakistan.
Casting doubts on Islamabad's intention to fight terrorism, India's interior minister Rajnath Singh said last week that if Pakistan was serious about fighting terror, then India was ready to help them eradicate it.
"Pakistan has forgotten the difference between terrorists and freedom fighters. Terrorism in India is mostly sponsored from across the border...If Pakistan is serious about fighting terror then we are ready to help them eradicate terror, but their intention is not that," Singh said, referring clearly to the September 18 Uri terror attack.
(WION with inputs from agencies)