Countries should stop protecting terrorists: Sushma Swaraj at OIC
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who was invited to Dubai as the guest of honor at Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), on Thursday said all countries should come together to fight terrorism. In an apparent hint to Pakistan, she added countries which provide safe haven to terrorists must stop doing so. Swaraj's visit to UAE comes amid India and Pakistan's worst escalation in decades.
The minister focused on terrorism in her speech and said no religion approved of extremism and violence. She said terrorism has been destroying lives, destabilizing regions and putting the world at great peril. And the threat is increasing with each passing day. "Just as Islam means peace, none of the 99 names of Allah mean violence. Similarly, every religion stands for peace," she added.
Quoting Quran, Guru Granth Sahib, and Rig Veda, Swaraj said the fight against terrorism "is not a confrontation against any religion." She added terrorism and extremism have different names and labels. "But in each case, it is driven by distortion of religion, and a misguided belief in its power to succeed," Swaraj, the first Indian External Affairs Minister to be the guest of honor at OIC, said.
"If we want to save humanity, we must tell the states who provide shelter and funding to terrorists, to dismantle the infrastructure of the terrorist camps and stop providing shelter and funding to the terror organizations based in that country," she added.
Notably, Pakistan disapproved of the honor bestowed upon Swaraj. Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi decided to give the event a miss to lodge a protest against Swaraj's attendance. "I will not attend Council of Foreign Ministers as a matter of principle," he said. While announcing his decision in Pakistan's Parliament, Qureshi added lower-ranking officials would attend the event to represent the country's interests.