Pakistan on Wednesday admitted for the first time that internationally proscribed terrorist outfits such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Muhammed were operating from within its territory, with foreign minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif calling for tougher action against these groups.
"We should impose restrictions on activities of elements like LeT and JeM so that we can show the global community that we've put our house in order," Asif told TV channel Geo News while responding to a BRICS declaration that named those two among several terrorist groups as threats to regional security.
Asif said Pakistan could no longer afford to "test" its friends on the issue of terrorism.
"Friends like China should not be tested every time, particularly in the changed (global) scenario," the minister added.
Only a day earlier, the foreign office in Islamabad, as well as defence minister Khurram Dastagir, had rejected the BRICS declaration, saying there were no safe havens for terrorists inside Pakistan, and that Pakistan was itself a victim of terror.
But foreign minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif said, "We cannot afford to shut our eyes on activities of these organisations in our country. If we continue to do that we will always face such embarrassments."
Asif admitted that Pakistan had made mistakes in the past, saying there was no need for the country to participate in the proxy war in Afghanistan during Zia ul-Haq's regime and later in the war on terror. "There's an urgent need for a clean break from our past. In 1979, Pakistan had made a wrong decision and acted like a proxy for the next decade. After 9/11, we again made a wrong decision and adopted a war which was never ours. We have suffered uncountable losses of lives and properties in this war," he said.
Asif said Pakistan needed to get rid of its false image. "We've no stakes involved but are only carrying the baggage of our past follies. We cannot correct ourselves as long as we do not accept historical facts," he said.