Putting house in order

Khawaja Asif's recent statements have attracted plenty of criticism.

Khawaja Asif’s recent statements have attracted plenty of criticism.

By Umer Tariq

Pakistan has been long accused of nurturing and protecting extremist organizations on its soil. The response to these allegations has traditionally been to rubbish these accusations by labeling them a conspiracy against Pakistan by its enemies. Amid all these allegations China was one country that not only stood with Pakistan but backed its stance in this regard. Pakistan’s long term ally has previously also blocked India’s moves to sanction Maulana Masood Azhar of the Jaish-e-Muhammad at the United Nations. The recent BRICS declaration changed all this as China along with four other BRICS nations (including India) in a joint declaration added its voice to the list of countries expressing concern at the presence of militant groups in Pakistan.

The BRICS declaration was a major wakeup call for Pakistan. This was evident by a sincere acknowledgement by Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif who said that the military and civil leadership are on the same page that Pakistan has to make a clean break from its past adding that ‘We need to bring our house in order to prevent facing embarrassment on the international level,’

Asif’s statement was followed by similar statements from Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal and Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. The realization or acceptance of a problem is the first step towards remedy and the acceptance by two key Ministers and the Prime Minister was indeed a positive sign. Pakistan has sacrificed thousands of lives in the war against terror but it is also a reality that we need to review some of our policies.

Asif’s remarks attracted the ire of former Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and many ‘television analysts’ branded his remarks ‘unpatriotic’. The Foreign Minister’s most recent remarks in this regard that came at the Asia Society forum resulted in Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan accusing him of ‘appeasing Indo-US lobby.’

It could be argued that the government instead of openly admitting to ‘problem at home’ should work towards a solution behind closed doors. However ridiculing the honest acceptance of facts and throwing around allegations of appeasing ‘enemies’ would bring no good.

*The writer is Deputy Editor of Daily The Patriot

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