PR No.16 Islamabad

Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Thursday said that the situation in South Asia cannot be seen and understood through foreign security paradigms and foreign solutions cannot address security related issues of the region.

The Minister said that the “tendency to label every man with a beard and every woman wearing hijab as potential terrorist should cease now”.

Security, the Minister said, is no longer a local or a regional issue but it has global manifestations and connotation.  “To win the war against terrorism, there has to be an international coalition but this coalition” he continued “should be based on mutual and greater understanding of regional dynamics and regional compulsions.”

The Interior Minister was addressing a seminar jointly organized by National Defense University and Royal Danish Defense College  and attended by a large number of diplomats and both senior civilians and the army officers .

Addressing the Seminar titled “Carving out a vision for brighter tomorrow: Addressing challenges and opportunities for enhanced regional cooperation”, the Interior Minister said that security in today’s world is a multi-dimensional and multi-faceted issue which cannot be ensured just by closing borders and pretending to feel safe.

The Minister said that no solution from America or the West can be imposed on our region and vice verse.

To win the war on terrorism, the support of over 01 billion Muslims is essential. The West, he said, should get out of the trend of Islamophobia and blaming Islam for everything.  The Minister said that the support of Islamic countries in the fight against terrorism is crucial in order to win this battle of hearts and minds.

The Minister observed that Muslims have been the hardest hit and the biggest victim in the ongoing fight against terrorism.

With regards to Pakistan’s approach towards peace and enhancing regional cooperation, the Interior Minister said that “Pakistan has been showing maximum urge and inclination for promoting peace and tranquility in the region.”

“The key to addressing issues is engagement and those who cannot engage in dialogue have a weak case.”

The Interior Minister observed that politics and security are two different things that need to be separated from each other.  “It is very important not to mix politics with security.”

“There is a tendency on part of certain countries especially in the region to mix politics with security” which he continued was “the biggest irritant to bringing about healthy dialogue in the region.” pointed out the Interior Minister.

He noted that “the internal issues, territorial disputes and internal problems should not be correlated with lack of security. That is happening in South Asia.”. The Minister stressed that “freedom movements should not be equated with terrorism.”

Urging West to honour its commitments and agreements, the Minister referred to a Summit held in Washington on “Countering Violent Extremism” in February 2015, and recalled that over 60 countries participating in the moot agreed upon the need that terrorism cannot be linked to any religion and there is a need to promote all inclusive policies. Within just one year of the Summit, the action emanating from Washington banning visas for seven Muslim countries has sent a negative message across the Muslim world.

The Interior Minister asserted that cooperation means showing greater understanding of others point of view, adding that “there cannot be two sets of different rules for people.”