Asking Pakistan to have a clear stand against terrorists, a leading Pakistani newspaper on Sunday wondered if Islamabad was again differentiating between “good” and “bad” militants.
“The security of Pakistan and the region lies in an unambiguous policy against militancy and terrorism in all their manifestations by all countries,” the Dawn said in an editorial.
But it said Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz’s remarks had added to the confusion and called for an “immediate and emphatic clarification”.
It said that citing fears about so-called blowback from militant groups, Aziz seemed to defend Pakistan’s lack of action against sanctuaries of the Haqqani network and the Afghan Taliban on Pakistani soil.
It said that he appeared to suggest that decisions were yet to be made regarding how far and on what scale the state would eventually act against some groups.
“Has Aziz backtracked on the state’s explicit commitment that there will no longer be a policy of differentiating between so-called good and bad Taliban?” the editorial asked.
“That would be an alarming and astonishing reversal made all the worse by the casual – almost careless – manner in which the remarks were given.”
Dawn said Pakistan’s policy was to treat all militant groups as a problem “that must be solved by eventual elimination.
“Pakistan’s pledge to try and deliver the Afghan Taliban to the negotiating table should not be allowed to become a reason to differentiate between militant groups over the long term.
“What threatens the stability of Afghanistan inevitably threatens the stability of Pakistan – the security establishment and political leadership here cannot lapse into old, damaging habits of denial and obfuscation.”
Both India and Afghanistan accuse Pakistan of harbouring and training terrorist groups acting against New Delhi and Kabul. Islamabad denies the charge.