In rebuttal to Pak, India quotes Imran Khan’s ‘40,000 terrorists’ remark
As first reported by HT, the UN report, issued last month, said there are some 6,500 Pakistani nationals among foreign terrorists operating in Afghanistan.Updated: Jun 05, 2020 15:19 IST
A new UN report that refers to the presence of thousands of Pakistani terrorists in Afghanistan is a reiteration of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s acknowledgement last year that his country hosts up to 40,000 terrorists, people familiar with developments said on Friday.
Reacting to the Pakistan Foreign Office’s contention that the external affairs ministry was using the UN report to “slander Pakistan”, the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the UN Security Council’s analytical support and sanctions monitoring team had only reiterated what Khan “has already confessed”.
As first reported by HT, the UN report, issued last month, said there are some 6,500 Pakistani nationals among foreign terrorists operating in Afghanistan, and the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) play a key role in bringing foreign fighters into the war-torn country.
“Pakistan’s Foreign Office would do well to recall that their prime minister admitted last year that Pakistan still hosts 30,000 to 40,000 terrorists. Pakistan’s leadership is also on record acknowledging that in the past, terrorists had used the country’s soil to carry out terror attacks on other countries,” said one of the people cited above.
Speaking at the US Institute of Peace in Washington last July, Khan had said Pakistan still has “about 30,000 to 40,000 armed people who have been trained and fought in some part of Afghanistan or Kashmir”.
“The UN Security Council’s analytical support and sanctions monitoring team’s report has only reiterated what the prime minister of Pakistan has already confessed. Instead of casting aspersions on the report, Pakistan should introspect and put an end to any kind of support for terrorism emanating from territories under its control,” the person said.
The person added that the UN and the world community are “acquainted with the reality that Pakistan is the nerve centre of terrorism”.
Pakistan houses “one of the largest numbers of UN-designated terrorists and terrorist entities”, and its “fallacious attempts to point fingers at others cannot deflect attention from the facts on the ground”, the person said.
“Moreover, Pakistan’s attempts to create a divide in the traditional and friendly relations between the people of India and Afghanistan will not succeed. The people of Afghanistan and the international community are well aware of who the ‘spoiler’ is, and who is sheltering, training, arming and financing terrorists and sponsoring violence against innocent Afghans and members of the international community,” the person said.
In a statement issued on Thursday, Pakistan’s Foreign Office had contended the external affairs ministry had misrepresented the UN report to slander Pakistan. “Pakistan categorically rejects India’s malicious allegations, which are aimed at misleading the international community,” it said.
The statement said there was no reference to “safe havens” in Pakistan in the report, which it claimed was based on “briefings provided in Afghanistan to the [UN team] by certain quarters who have long expressed scepticism about the Afghan peace process”.
The Foreign Office also contended India was trying to “create complications for the Afghan peace process”, and that Pakistan had highlighted what it was said was India’s “sponsorship of terrorist organisations in Afghanistan”.
External affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava had reacted to the UN report by expressing India’s “serious concern” at the continued presence in Afghanistan of the senior leadership of al-Qaeda and a large number of foreign terrorists, including 6,500 Pakistan nationals. The report, he said, “vindicates India’s long-standing position that Pakistan remains the epicentre of international terrorism”.