ISLAMABAD – In a massive diplomatic blow to Narendra Modi-led India, a controversial list of proscribed groups attached with the Amritsar Declaration of the Heart of Asia ministerial conference in Dec 2016 has been dropped from the recent Baku Declaration, stated Pakistan’s Foreign Office said on Thursday.
Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal, in his weekly briefing, expressed that after the HoA conference last year, India celebrated the adoption of the list as a huge diplomatic success and started misusing the list for political point scoring but due to Pakistan’s successful diplomacy, the list was taken off.
“Pakistan had agreed to the list with positive intent… but subsequent Indian behaviour, [i.e.] trying to use the listing of these groups to malign Pakistan forced us to suggest a comprehensive list,” said Dr Faisal.
The official maintained that at the recently held Heart of Asia conference in Baku, Pakistan took a principle stance that selective listing should be avoided and all terrorist groups should be condemned without discrimination.
He continued that member countries had agreed to drop the list from the recent declaration and had referred the matter to the Working Group on Counter-Terrorism, which would come up with a comprehensive list of all terrorist groups in the Heart of Asia region.
Dr Faisal clarified that the first phase of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would be completed by 2020 while the entire project would be functional by 2030.
The FO spokesperson said that Pakistan and China regularly monitored the progress of CPEC projects, adding that the decision to include more projects and highways in the economic corridor would be taken after mutual consensus.