'Hydra-headed monster' of terrorism must be fought with full vigour, conviction: Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif at SCO Summit

His comment was apparently intended to send out a message to Chinese President Xi Jinping, who joined the virtual summit.
nirban Bhaumik
Last Updated : 04 July 2023, 19:08 IST
Last Updated : 04 July 2023, 19:08 IST

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The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s summit on Tuesday saw India and Pakistan taking veiled swipes at each other, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi calling upon the bloc to denounce nations that exports terrorism and his counterpart Shehbaz Sharif stressing that the religious minorities should not be demonised for domestic political interests.

With a large number of the Indian Army soldiers still deployed to resist the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s aggressive moves across the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, the prime minister, who chaired the SCO summit, stressed on upholding the basic principle of the charter of the organisation, particularly respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the member states of the bloc.

His comment was apparently intended to send out a message to Chinese President Xi Jinping, who joined the virtual summit along with Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as the leaders of the Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan.

“It is our common responsibility to achieve long-term peace and stability in the region. China is willing to work with all parties to implement global security initiatives, insist on resolving differences and contradictions among countries through dialogue and consultation, promote political settlement of international and regional hotspot issues, and build a solid barrier for regional security,” said Xi.

The summit saw the SCO nations welcoming Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi as the West Asian Islamic Republic joined the bloc that Russia and China had launched between 1996 and 2001 to serve as a strategic counterweight to NATO. India and Pakistan joined the bloc in 2017.

The number of the SCO members is likely to up to 10 next year when Belarus would be formally inducted as a full member.

“Terrorism has become a major threat to regional and global peace. Dealing with this challenge requires decisive action. Regardless of its form or manifestation, we must unite in our fight against terrorism,” the prime minister said, taking a not-so-subtle dig at Pakistan. India has been accusing Pakistan of exporting terror to neighbouring countries.

“Some countries use cross-border terrorism as an instrument of their policies, provide shelter to terrorists. (The) SCO should not hesitate to criticize such nations. There should be no place for double standards on such serious matters,” said Modi.

Sharif termed terrorism as a “hydra-headed monster” that should be “fought with full vigour and conviction”. “Any temptation to use it as a cudgel for diplomatic point-scoring must be avoided under all circumstances,” Pakistan’s prime minister said apparently responding to his counterpart in India. “The religious minorities should not be demonised in the “pursuit of domestic political agendas,” he said, without elaborating. Islamabad in the past accused the Modi Government in New Delhi of discriminating against religious minorities in India, which also often turned the table highlighting persecution of the Hindus and the other minority communities in Pakistan.

Published 04 July 2023, 11:17 IST

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