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Diplomacy

World Sees Pakistan as 'Epicentre' of Terrorism: Jaishankar

'Standing next to [Hina Rabbani Khar], Hillary Clinton actually said that if you have... snakes in your backyard, you can't expect them to bite only your neighbours,' the external affairs minister said.

United Nations: The world sees Pakistan as the “epicentre of terrorism” and it should clean up its act and try to be a good neighbour, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said, asserting that the world has not forgotten where the menace stems from.

He also recalled former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s blunt message to Islamabad that snakes in one’s backyard will eventually bite those who keep them.

Jaishankar was addressing reporters on Thursday at the UN headquarters after chairing a signature event held under India’s presidency of the Security Council on Global Counterterrorism Approach: Challenges and Way Forward.’

Responding to a question by PTI on Pakistan Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar’s recent statements about a “dossier” and allegations against India, he said, “I saw, I read the reports on what minister Khar said. And I was reminded, more than a decade ago, my memory serves me right. Hillary Clinton was visiting Pakistan. And Hina Rabbani Khar was a minister at that time.

“Standing next to her, Hillary Clinton actually said that if you have… snakes in your backyard, you can’t expect them to bite only your neighbours. Eventually, they will bite the people who keep them in the backyard. But as you know, Pakistan is not great at taking good advice. You see what’s happening there,” Jaishankar recalled.

During her visit to Islamabad in October 2011, Clinton, addressed the media with Pakistan’s then Foreign Minister Khar and said, “It’s like that old story – you can’t keep snakes in your backyard and expect them only to bite your neighbours. Eventually, those snakes are going to turn on whoever has them in the backyard.”

“We asked very specifically for greater cooperation from the Pakistani side to squeeze the Haqqani network and other terrorists because we know that trying to eliminate terrorists and safe havens on one side of the border is not going to work,” Clinton had said.

Jaishankar said: ” the world today sees them (Pakistan) as the epicentre of terrorism. Now I know we’ve been through two-and-a-half years of Covid and a lot of us have brain fog as a result. But I assure you the world has not forgotten where does terrorism (emanate), who has their fingerprints over a lot of activities in the region and beyond the region.”

“So I would say that it’s something which they should remind themselves of before indulging in the kind of fantasies which they do,” he added.

This week, Pakistan shared a “dossier” of India’s alleged involvement in a blast outside Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed’s residence in Lahore on June 23 last year.

When asked by a Pakistani journalist how long South Asia is going to see terrorism disseminating from New Delhi, Kabul and Pakistan, Jaishankar said, “You know, you’re asking the wrong minister when you say how long will we do this? Because it is the ministers of Pakistan who will tell you how long Pakistan intends to practice terrorism.”

“At the end of the day, the world is not stupid, the world is not forgetful. And the world does increasingly call out countries and organisations and people who indulge in terrorism,” he said.

“By taking that debate elsewhere, you are not going to hide it. You’re not going to confuse anybody anymore. People have figured it out. So, my advice is please clean up your act. Please try to be a good neighbour. Please try and contribute to what the rest of the world is trying to do today, which is economic growth, progress, and development,” Jaishankar said. “I hope through your channel that message goes.”

In response to a question on concerns over Taliban in Afghanistan supporting terror groups like Al Qaeda, Jaishankar said after the Taliban takeover of Kabul in August last year, the Security Council had expressed concerns of the international community in regards to Afghanistan as a whole through a resolution.

“I think that remains very much the sentiment and outlook of the international community. One of the key expectations there is that Afghanistan will not again serve as a base for terrorism against other countries, and we expect whoever has authority in Afghanistan to respect and honour that,” he said.

The Security Council, in its resolution 2593 (2021) that was adopted under India’s August 2021 presidency of the Council, had said that Afghan soil should not be used for terrorism, to threaten or attack any country, to shelter or train terrorists or to plan or finance terrorist acts.

(Yoshita Singh)