NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday said that Pakistan can’t deny the presence of terrorist networks like the LeT and Haqqani, as it is a well known fact that they operate freely and fiercely on and from its soil with active state support.
“Osama bin Laden was living in Pakistan while the whole world was looking for him and Pakistan was completely in denial. So ,if the United States Secretary of State (John Kerry) clearly says that whether it’s the LeT or the other organisation in Pakistan… that is obviously based on information and is open information now. Pakistan can’t even pretend about it, because these terrorist networks operate freely, fiercely, and also with active state support,” BJP leader Nalin Kohli told ANI.
Asserting that India and the U.S. are engaging on a number of levels, Kohli said Tuesday's joint statement press conference by Kerry and his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj also focussed on Pakistan’s role.
“Pakistan has been trying to mislead this fight against terror which is picking up globally. There is a concept of good terrorist and bad terrorist. Wherever terrorists from Pakistan have come and hurt and killed Indian citizens, they have not moved against those perpetrators of terror. Now, I think the global community, including the U.S. in particular, is also sending out a message that Pakistan needs to provide justice to the victims of terror,” he added.
Echoing similar sentiments, another BJP leader Srikant Sharma told ANI that terrorism has become a challenge for humanity and the whole world is today united against it.
“Terrorism is an enemy of humanity. Those who are still under the misconception of good terrorism and bad terrorism should come together and be united against terrorism. Curbing terrorism totally will be good for the world,” he added.
The United States and India have agreed to boost counter-terrorism cooperation by expanding intelligence sharing about known or suspected extremists and terrorist threats.
Speaking after conclusion of the second US-India Strategic Dialogue in New Delhi with visiting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj yesterday said both countries also renewed their commitment to track down and prosecute perpetrators of several terrorist attacks on Indian soil, including the 2008 strike in Mumbai and a January 2016 attack on the Pathankot Air Force base. India has blamed Pakistan-linked groups for the attacks.
Swaraj said the two sides had agreed on the “urgent necessity for Pakistan to disable safe havens and terrorist networks” and “on the need to Pakistan to do more to bring the perpetrators of (the two attacks) to justice quickly.”
“We reaffirmed the urgent necessity for Pakistan to dismantle safe havens for terrorists and criminals networks, including LeT, JeM and the D-Company,” she said.
On his part, Kerry said, “The U.S. continues to support all efforts to bring the perpetrators of 2008 Mumbai and 2016 Pathankot attacks to justice.”
Echoing the Indian foreign minister’s remark, Kerry also said that the U.S. can’t and won’t make a distinction between good and bad terrorists.
“U.S. stands with India on all matters of terrorism, no matter where it comes from; it’s crystal clear we are on the same view over it,” he said.
But he did say he had spoken recently with Pakistani officials about “the need for Pakistan to deprive any (terrorist) group of sanctuary.” He specifically named the Haqqani network that operates in Afghanistan as well as the Lashkar-e-Taiba, which has been blamed for attacks in India.
“It is vital that Pakistan join with other nations in tackling this challenge, and in fairness, in recent weeks and months they have been moving more authoritatively,” Kerry said.