Pak must 'change its approach' to terror outfits, says US

07 September 2017

The United States on Wednesday said Pakistan must "change its approach" towards terrorist groups operating from its soil and take decisive action against them.

"As the administration has said, Pakistan must change its approach," a State Department spokesperson told news agency PTI in response to a question on the BRICS statement that named Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed among the terror groups that create problems in the region.

"We look to the Pakistan government to take decisive action against militant groups based in Pakistan that are a threat to the region," the spokesperson said.

For the first time, the BRICS Summit in their joint declaration named Pakistan-based terrorist groups as a concern for regional security and called for action against them.

The Xiamen declaration by the grouping of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa was significant given that China previously repeatedly stonewalled any reference to Pakistan or terrorist groups based there.

Pakistan's defence minister Khurram Dastagir Khan rejected the BRICS statement within hours of its publication. ''We reject this thing categorically, no terrorist organisation has any complete safe havens,'' Khan told a Pakistani TV news station.

But Pakistan foreign minister Khawaja Asif later appeared to admit that outfits like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) were operating from Pakistani soil.

"Friends (China) should not be tested (every time), particularly in the changed scenario. Instead, we should impose some restrictions on the activities of the elements like LeT and JeM, so that we can show the global community that we have put our house in order," Pakistani media houses quoted Asif as saying in an interview.

Asif also tried to dilute China's role in the BRICS declaration, saying that it shouldn't be considered as China's official stance as other countries were involved.

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