Khurshid: Hard to fight terror

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 22 Apr 2004


PUTRAJAYA: The targeted killings of Hamas leaders by Israel and current violence in Iraq are making the job of fighting terror “not any easier” in Pakistan and other countries. 

Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri said events in both these places had wider implications on the world, especially those related to US interests. 

“Unilateral declarations by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and the targeted killings are counter-productive to US interests and have a bearing in the Middle East and even in Iraq. 

“They have an effect on (Islamic) militancy all over the world, the Islamic world particularly. Pakistan has played a major role in controlling extremism in the country. The work is not going to be made easier if you have targeted killings in Palestine. 

“And the more people are killed in Iraq, unfortunately, will play into the hands of the extremists,” he told reporters here yesterday. 

Khurshid was here to attend the emergency Organisation of Islamic Conference special session today, which was called to discuss events in both Palestine and Iraq. 

As a non-Nato ally, Khurshid said Pakistan would use its special relationship with the US to attempt to persuade Israel to halt such killings by “making known its sentiments.” 

“We are upset with developments in that area (Palestine),” he said, adding that the Hamas killings were in total disregard with international law as with other decisions made by Sharon. 

Asked if he was hopeful that the emergency meeting would be able to resolve the situation in both these places when the 57-member body had issued resolutions after resolutions without much effect, Khurshid said the countries hoped to get first-hand accounts from representatives of both the Palestinian authorities and the Iraqi governing council. 

“It is easy to be critical of the OIC. The body, like the United Nations, provides a platform for the international community to voice its views and to a large extent, speak for international legitimacy. 

“The OIC here performs a similar role. The fact that neither the UN nor the OIC has been effective does not give rise to arguments that both of these bodies should be disbanded,” he said, adding that the members had to take into account the “facts of life.” 

Khurshid said Pakistan “had paid a heavy price” for the instability in Afghanistan, arising from the US war against terror and the hunt for Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan as it had to cope with some four million refugees. 

“We have performed our international obligations. We have told the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees that it’s high time that these refugees return home. 

“A large portion have gone home but there are some 1.9 million unregistered refugees who have dispersed into various towns and cities in Pakistan,” he said.

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