Islamabad - Pakistan on Saturday expressed serious concern over the Indian threat to ‘use terrorism to counter terrorism’ from other countries, saying it confirms Islamabad’s apprehensions about New Delhi’s involvement in terrorism in Pakistan.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security Sartaj Aziz and Defence Minister Khawaja Asif expressed serious concern over the statement made by Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar that India will use terrorism to counter terrorism from other countries.

In a statement issued in Islamabad, Sartaj said statement of the Indian minister only confirms Pakistan’s apprehensions about Delhi’s involvement in terrorism in Pakistan. It must be the first time that a minister of an elected government openly advocates use of terrorism in another country on the pretext of preventing terrorism from that country or its non-state actors. The adviser said Pakistan sincerely pursues a policy of good neighborly relations with India. Terrorism is our common enemy and it is vital for the two countries to work together to defeat this menace. Pakistan has suffered much more than any other country in the war on terror, he added.

Reacting to the statement of his Indian counterpart, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said “sponsoring terrorism to counter terrorism confirms our assertions” of Indian involvement in terrorist activities on Pakistani soil.

He said that the statement of Indian defence minister is open and blatant admission and declaration of sponsoring terrorism. Manohar Parrikar specifically mentioned that regulation will not be used to quell terrorist activities; instead, terrorism will be promoted, he said. This is the worst kind of declaration by a state functionary of cabinet level which confirms that India is sponsoring terrorism against its neighbours in the name of preventing terrorist activities, he said.

Agencies add: Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Senator Pervaiz Rashid on Saturday also said the statement of Indian defence minister was dangerous for regional peace and it had exposed Indian designs. World needed peace but India was talking of terrorism, the minister said in a statement here.

Pervaiz Rashid said that India was committing worst kind of state terrorism in occupied Kashmir. Representatives of human rights organisations were not being allowed to visit the Indian occupied valley, he added. He said, “World needs peace, progress and prosperity and international powers should play their role in this regard.”

Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, in a shocking and radical statement, has asserted that terrorists have to be neutralised only through terrorists. “India will take proactive steps to prevent a 26/11 type attack,” Press Trust of India quoted him saying.

Speaking at an event in New Delhi, the minister used the Hindi phrase “kante se kanta nikalna” (removing a thorn with a thorn) and wondered why Indian soldiers should be used to neutralise terrorists. The proactive steps, he said, could include pressure tactics.

“We have to neutralise terrorists through terrorists only. Why can’t we do it? We should do it. Why does my soldier have to do it?” he said and added that the issue could not be discussed beyond this. “There are certain things that I obviously cannot discuss here. But if there is any country planning something against my country, we will definitely take some proactive steps,” he said.

Commenting on the shocking utterances of the Indian defence minister, a defence analyst said the statement was appalling and beyond comprehension. He lamented that the menace of terrorism could not be defeated by promoting state-sponsored terrorism. India, he added, was carving out a disastrous strategy as it would never help in rooting out terrorism, which was a global issue threatening all states. The international community should take notice of this irresponsible statement, which was reflecting a sick mindset, he stressed.