How we respond to India-US declaration will write our future

India-US joint declaration on terrorism has caused extreme discomfort in powerful quarters as it specifically mentions Pakistan in a negative light including our inability or unwillingness to bring to justice the perpetrators of 26/11 attacks as well as condemning favoured groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba. Chairman Senate’s Committee on Interior Senator Rehman Malik gave a strong statement against the declaration which reflects the popular anger against it. Instead of just complaining about it being unfair to Pakistan, though, the declaration should serve as a wake up call. Dawn newspaper notes a very important point that should become the center of our attention.

This country and its leadership need to ask themselves a hard question: why does Pakistan continue to be such a hospitable place for extremist and militants elements that threaten the region and friendly countries further away?

There may be a right-wing government in India hostile to Pakistan, but the latter’s terrorism problem has much deeper roots. Zero tolerance for extremism and militancy is in Pakistan’s interest. Such a policy though has yet to manifest itself here.

The world needs to pay more attention to India’s actions especially inside Balochistan and Afghanistan. However that does not mean that we do not have a serious problem in our own borders that is of our own making. This Eid jihadi groups like Jamaat-ud-Dawa and others that are even supposedly banned were openly advertising and collecting hides. Despite the success of military operations in reducing attacks, jihadi terrorists still have ability to carry out massive attacks inside Pakistan. This was proven by PAF Badaber attack which, like almost every attack, was done by some Pakistani terrorists and had to have the help of even more sympathisers in the country.

Our policy of ‘Good Taliban Bad Taliban’ has hurt the sympathy that the world had for our sacrifices in the war on terrorism since everyone is now saying “If you are suffering so much why don’t you put an end to extremism?” And we are pointing fingers at India while obviously ignoring the extremists like Hafiz Saeed that we don’t want to deal with. How we choose to respond to this India-US declaration will write our future. We can give angry statements against it and nothing will change, or we can finally end this policy of ‘Good Taliban Bad Taliban’ and stop the growing isolation and suffering that we are facing.

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