London, Sep 21: Pakistan's powerful security agencies are supporting religious extremists to "undermine" its democratically elected government's efforts to reach a reconciliation with India, British foreign policy experts have said.
At a event organised by the UK-based Democracy Forum and Henry Jackson Society, academics and global foreign policy experts sought to answer the central question of: "Is Pakistan a Victim or Perpetrator of Terrorism?" Christine Fair of Georgetown University, Washington, addressed the topic using data for incidents of terrorism in Pakistan over the last 20 years and various surveys and case studies.
"There is ample proof that Pakistani security agencies are supporting religious extremist outfits," she said, adding that Pakistan's reliance on terrorism as a foreign policy instrument had "backfired" and they are now fighting those terrorist groups that they can no longer control.
"Whenever there appears to be a possible reconciliation with India by Pakistan's democratically elected government, the military undermine it by mounting terrorist attacks," she said at the seminar held at the University of London's Senate House last week.
Bob Blackman, a Conservative party MP, said that evidence demonstrates that Pakistan is a "perpetrator of terrorism" in Jammu and Kashmir.
He demanded that Pakistan's "illegal occupation" of parts of Kashmir should be ended. Pakistani writer and journalist Irfan Hussain concluded that Pakistan was both a "victim and source of terrorism," while Dr Aqil Shah of Oklahoma University added that the Pakistani military's mistake was that it distinguishes between "good, bad and ugly" terrorists.
"Good groups, such as the Haqqani Network and Lashkar-e- Tayyaba, are free to roam the country collecting funds. Other groups classified as bad can still be brought under control and used by the state. "Ugly groups, such as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, are irreconcilable and are being fought by the military," Dr Shah said.