New Delhi: Indian home minister Rajnath Singh told Parliament on Thursday that he told SAARC members at a meeting in Islamabad “not to glorify terrorism or give patronage to it.”
“A terrorist in one nation cannot be a martyr or freedom fighter for anyone,” he said, adding that effective measures should be taken to ensure that those involved in terrorist acts, do not escape prosecution and punishment and are extradited so that they cannot escape prosecution.
Pakistan recently riled India by calling Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani as a “martyr” and “freedom fighter”.
“Pakistan is yet to ratify the SAARC convention on Mutual Assistance on Criminal Matters. Pakistan is also yet to convey its concurrence on setting up of SAARC Terrorist Offences Monitoring Desk and SAARC Drug Offences Monitoring Desk.
“Pakistan mentioned that they would act soon on these issues. I only hope and wish that the ‘soon’ would actually be soon,” Singh said, informing Parliament about his speech in Islamabad.
All member states, who have not ratified SAARC convention on Mutual Assistance on Criminal Matters, need to ratify the same, he said.
“They should not make the mistake of distinguishing between good terrorism and bad terrorism,” he said. “It is necessary to take all effective steps against states or non-state actors encouraging or supporting terrorism.”
To ensure that terrorism is not encouraged, it was necessary that stringent action is not just initiated against terrorists but also against persons, organisations, institutions and states supporting them, Singh said.
He said he had suggested to the SAARC Ministers that sanctions and bans imposed against terrorists by the global community have to be honoured.
Stringent action should also be taken against persons involved in terrorism and their extradition should be ensured so that they can face the law, the Home Minister said.
Responding to questions in Rajya Sabha, Singh said “the unity shown by the House on serious issues like terrorism reflects not only the unity of the House but unity of the country.”
“I have full confidence that terrorism, which is trying to set roots in our country, we will be fully successful in uprooting it.”
The Home Minister said the prominent items on the agenda of the SAARC meet were terrorism, smuggling of narcotic drugs, cyber crime and human trafficking and added that most participating nations strongly condemned terrorism in all its manifestations.
“I laid special emphasis on the scourge of terrorism. I am sure all the members of this august house would agree with me that the biggest challenge to the peace and prosperity of South Asia is terrorism.
“I called for hardening our resolve to eradicate this menace of terrorism. I also stressed on the need to ensure that terrorism is not glorified and patronised by any state,” Singh said.
The will and the mandate of the international community against “proscribed and wanted terrorists and their organisations” must be respected and implemented, he.
At the meeting, Singh said the initiatives announced by India included offering technical assistance to make STOMD and SDOMC more effective.
India has also offered to host a meeting of experts on SAARC Anti Terrorism Mechanism on September 22-23, he said, adding he offered provision of training to SAARC member nations on preventing narcotics trade.