Islamabad, (IANS) In an apparent swipe at host Pakistan, Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday called for tough action against terrorism and countries supporting it and said terrorists should not be glorified as “martyrs”.
“It needs to be ensured that terrorism is not glorified and is not patronized by any state. One country’s terrorist cannot be a martyr or freedom fighter for anyone,” Rajnath Singh said at a meeting of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) interior ministers here.
“Those who provide support, encouragement, sanctuary, safe haven or any assistance to terrorism or terrorists must be isolated. We must harden our resolve to eradicate this menace and also take serious steps to this end.”
The Indian minister didn’t name any country in his speech but his criticism was obviously targeted at the Pakistan government.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif last month had described slain pro-Pakistan Kashmiri rebel commander Burhan Wani as a “martyr” who died fighting for the “freedom” of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Pakistan government also observed a black day against the killing of Wani, who was shot dead by Indian security forces in Kashmir.
Rajnath Singh said countries needed to take “strongest possible steps” not only against terrorists and their organisations but also against “individuals, institutions, organisations or nations that support them”.
He said that the world needed to believe that “attempts to distinguish between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ terrorists are misleading”.
“No type of terrorism or support to it can be justified on any grounds whatsoever. An immediate and effective action is required against all those who support or encourage international terrorism in any way, whether they are state actors or non-state.”
The Indian minister’s anti-terror message on the Pakistani soil comes amid unrest in the Kashmir Valley which India says is being stoked by Islamabad. The turmoil, which has left over 50 people dead in clashes between security forces and Kashmiri protesters, was triggered by Wani’s killing.
The unrest in the valley has worsened the ties between the two countries, particularly after Pakistan’s Kashmir rant, asking its diplomats to raise the dispute at international forums.
It was the first visit by an Indian minister to Pakistan after the January attack on the Indian Air Force base at Pathankot, also blamed on Pakistani terrorists.
Rajnath Singh arrived here on Wednesday evening, amid anti-India protests organized by terror groups including the United Jehad Council – a militant amalgam of groups fighting in Kashmir but based in Pakistan.
Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed, the chief the Lashkar-e-Taiba, also led an anti-India rally in Lahore where he lashed out at the Pakistan government for allowing Rajnath Singh land in Islamabad.
The home minister was taken to his hotel in a chopper as he was given a “presidential level security” amid threats by the militant groups.
Pakistan is also hosting the November 9-10 Saarc summit which is expected to be attended by presidents and prime ministers of the member countries.
“In a few months, leaders of the region would come together in this city of Islamabad for the 19th Saarc Summit. It is my hope that we would be able to demonstrate to our concrete progress in areas of our mutual concern and interest that I mentioned. The time for us to act is now,” Rajnath Singh said in his concluding marks.