LONDON: Minister for Interior and Narcotics Control Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Tuesday said the biggest hurdle in efforts against terrorism was growing Islamophobia.
Addressing a press conference in London, he said there was no Islam bashing at the summit in Washington on countering violent extremism and it was welcoming that nobody made a connection between Islam and terrorism.
“Islamophobia is an insult to the sacrifices made by thousands of Muslims,” he added.
The minister was interacting with members of the press after meetings with US and British government officials in Washington and London respectively.
He said Pakistan and Britain were few of the countries that made key note speeches at the summit attended by ministerial level representatives.
US President Barack Obama also made a courageous speech, Nisar said, adding he met the American president, Secretary of State John Kerry and National Security Adviser Susan Rice.
The conference was disappointment for those elements who were trying for many years to correlate Islam and terrorism, the minister noted adding economies of Islamic countries suffered immense losses in the fight against terrorism.
“Extremists were trying to create divisions on religious lines and the vested interests accentuate these tendencies.” He said Pakistan had lost 50,000 of its citizens and more than 99 per cent of them were Muslims. It cannot be called Islamic terrorism when Muslims are the target, he added.
The minister said vested interests and a section of society had criticised Islam and Islamic personalities.
He said he pointed out in the conference that the west must do more to address the issue of targeting Muslims and their religious beliefs.
“It’s a defining moment in the fight against terrorism and extremism.” He said regional unity and consensus at international level against terrorism was needed.
The minister said he was satisfied that for the first time there was an understanding about the viewpoint of Islamic countries which was reflected in the resolution adopted at the summit.
Pakistan is considering to hold a regional summit, details of which he will discuss on his return to Pakistan, said Nisar.
He said there had been misgivings in relations between US and Pakistan in the past, adding US should look at the relationship with Pakistan not on the basis of dollars and cents but should respect the country whether it agrees with it or not.
“I told US officials that United States pumped in more than $10-14 billion during the Musharraf era but your country was the most unpopular in Pakistan. At that time it was fashionable to be anti-American,” he added.