Press Trust of india

Pak has to create environment for normal relations: Govt

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‘Government follows zero tolerance policy to cross-border terrorism’

New Delhi, Jul 10:  India has conveyed to Pakistan that it wants normal neighbourly relations with it in an atmosphere free from terror, and the onus is on Islamabad for creating such an environment, the government said in Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

In a written reply to a question, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan listed a number of developments, including FATF notifying Pakistan in the ‘grey list’, as a vindication or India’s consistent stand that “internationally designated terrorist groups and individuals continue to operate from and raise financial resources with impunity in the neighbouring country”.

“They are using territories under Pakistan’s control for carrying out cross-border terrorism in India and elsewhere in South Asia,” he said.

The minister said the government has consistently raised the issue of “cross-border terrorism” and placed high emphasis on international cooperation in combating the menace including in bilateral, regional and international fora.

Asked about steps for garnering global support for India against terrorism, he said as a result of government’s persistent efforts, international community has shown understanding of India’s position.

“There is enhanced concern in the international community over the terrorism emanating from Pakistan, including the continuing activities of internationally designated terrorist entities and individuals including Jamaat-ud Dawa (JuD), Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammad, and Hizbul Mujahideen,” Muraleedharan said.

This manifested in international support after the cross border attack in Pulwama in February 2019, he said.

Major partner countries have also called on Pakistan to end immediately the support and safe havens provided to militant groups operating from territories under its control and take meaningful action against these groups, he said.

In the aftermath of the suicide attack in Pulwama, UN Security Council condemned in the strongest term the heinous and cowardly act, the minister said.

“Many terrorist entities and individuals who find shelter in Pakistan and are also engaged in terrorism against India have been proscribed by the United Nations (UN), the European Union and other countries,” Muraleedharan said.

On May 01, the United Nations 1267 Sanctions Committee designated Masood Azhar, the leader of Jaish-e-Mohammad as a “UN proscribed terrorist”, he said.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), at its plenary in June 2018, notified Pakistan in the ‘grey list’ due to continuing terror financing related concerns, including with respect to the UN proscribed terrorist entities like LeT, JuD and Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation, he said.

“These vindicate India’s consistent stand that internationally designated terrorist groups and individuals continue to operate from and raise financial resources with impunity in Pakistan, and use territories under its control for carrying out cross-border terrorism in India and elsewhere in South Asia,” Muraleedharan said.

“India’s call to condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestation, zero tolerance to terrorism, rejection of any justification for an act of terror, delinking terror from religion and need for all forces believing in humanity to unite in fight against terrorism has found greater acceptance among the international community,” he said.

Asserting that government follows zero tolerance policy to “cross-border terrorism”, Muraleedharan said necessary measures are taken to prevent and deter cross-border infiltration.

Close and effective coordination between intelligence and security agencies at the Centre and the state level is maintained in order to avert “terror incidents” in the country, he said.

“The government has conveyed to Pakistan that it desires normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan in an atmosphere free from terror, hostility and violence. The onus is on Pakistan for creating such an environment,” Muraleedharan said.

In his reply to another question, the minister said 83 missing Indian defence personnel, including prisoners of war, are believed to be in Pakistan’s custody.

The government has consistently taken up the matter of release and repatriation of these missing Indian defence personnel with Pakistan through diplomatic channels, the minister said.

However, Pakistan has not acknowledged the presence of any Indian prisoner of war or missing Indian defence personnel in its custody, so far, he said.

There are 64 Indian and believed-to-be Indian civilian prisoners and 209 Indian and believed-to-be Indian fishermen in Pakistan’s custody, he said.

As a result of persistent efforts, the government has secured the release and repatriation of 2,110 Indian prisoners, including fishermen, from Pakistan’s custody since 2014, Muraleedharan said.

In a written reply to another question on Indian fishermen, he said from time to time, Indian fishermen along with their boats are apprehended by authorities of neighbouring countries for allegedly fishing in their waters.

There have been few reports of Indian fishing boats being attacked by Pakistan authorities, the minister said.

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