Voices favouring action against terror groups are growing louder in Pakistan with ruling as well as opposition lawmakers asking the government to stop protecting terrorists like Hafiz Sayeed whose activities have plunged the country into diplomatic isolation.
Rana Muhammad Afzal, a ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) lawmaker, on Thursday questioned the government’s failure to act against Saeed, the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba and the head of its frontal charity Jamaat-ud-Dawa.
“Which eggs is Hafiz Saeed laying for us that we are nurturing him,” Afzal said in a meeting of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, according to the BBC Urdu.
Afzal, a member of the parliamentary panel, questioned the efficacy of Pakistan’s foreign policy and said it had become such that “we have not been able to get rid of Hafiz Saeed so far”.
Sayeed, one the most wanted terrorists in India, has been blamed for masterminding terror attacks in Kashmir and other parts of India including the 2008 Mumbai carnage that killed 166 people.
The lawmaker said New Delhi had created such a worldwide impression about the terrorist leader “that during the meetings on Kashmir, foreign delegates mention Hafiz Saeed as the bone of contention between Pakistan and India”.
He said the country needed to be freed of such elements that have “led the world to start isolating us and trying to declare (Pakistan) a terrorist state”.
He recalled a trip to France where he had gone on a diplomatic mission to make Paris aware about alleged atrocities committed by Indian security forces in Jammu and Kashmir.
But Saeed was “brought up time and again” during his meetings in France, Afzal said.
He questioned whether Saeed was good or bad for the Kashmir cause and said that banned terror outfits, like the Lashkar and Jaish-e-Mohammed, were a source of embarrassment for Pakistan.
Opposition Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Aitzaz Ahsan told a joint session of Parliament that the country was diplomatically isolated because it gives freedom to non-state actors.
“The government has been completely unsuccessful in imposing restrictions on non-state actors according to the National Action Plan (NPA),” the Dawn newspaper quoted Ahsan as saying.
He implied that such elements continued to hold protests and rallies and give speeches in places such as Islamabad, Lahore, Faisalabad and Karachi.
“I don’t want instability in any country, as the blame of that will then fall on us because of these non-state actors,” he said.
He said the failure to curb terrorists would isolate Pakistan. “Then Bangladesh and Afghanistan will not speak to you, and Bhutan and Nepal will begin supporting India.”
“You have isolated Pakistan,” he said, adding Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was responsible for Pakistan’s diplomatic isolation as he was also the Foreign Minister.