Amid the rise in terror attacks and the protests being held by the people against the terrorists, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Friday said Pakistan perhaps needed to review internal security policies and decisions.
He regretted that wrongdoings of the past resulted in agricultural and educational crises in the country.
The people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and South Waziristan had always supported peace and confronted terrorism, he noted. “Obviously if they feel, right or wrong, that terrorists are returning, they are protesting which is their right. Our responsibility as the government and the state is to ensure peace, rule of law and the state’s writ.”
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, the foreign minister remarked that perhaps it was time for an in-camera internal review on decisions regarding terrorism and internal security.
When asked about war or negotiation being the only methods available to deal with the banned militant Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), he said: “I never think it is as easy as black and white — either war or negotiations.”
Bilawal said he had a “different approach” to the issue from the previous government’s decisions. “I think that it will be necessary for us to internally review this policy [of black and white] and I don’t think there’s anything wrong in admitting we were wrong in some things and right in other things and reexamining our approach and recalibrating the way that we deal with this issue in the context of the developments in our region.”
He said there was a need again for a consensus on tackling this new wave of terrorism, suggesting again that an in-camera review was needed of state policy towards terrorism. “We can’t afford a return to the dangerous days of terrorism.”
On Afghanistan, Bilawal said Pakistan did not want to take a “solo flight” on its recognition and rather, pursue the process with international consensus.
He said Pakistan wanted Afghanistan to show progress in safeguarding the neighbours from terrorism and that the interim Afghan government should complete its promises to the world, including those about female education.
Bilawal also noted that the relations between Pakistan and the US had been “de-hyphenated” and added that the government’s focus was to prioritise national interest and emphasise maintaining a balanced relationship and a positive outreach with all countries, including the US and China.
He noted that the country’s foreign policy was on a positive trajectory to help achieve development goals by addressing important issues, including counter-terrorism and security and economic cooperation.
The foreign minister said persistent implementation of the Financial Action Task Force’s action plans about countering money laundering and terror financing would remain high on the government’s agenda.