The growing rift between the civil and military sections of Pakistan over terrorism, which was first reported in the Karachi-based Dawn newspaper, has drawn the attention of BRICS delegates arriving in Goa for the upcoming summit of the grouping.
Sources indicated that the diplomatic isolation of Pakistan and instability in the nuclear-armed country would be discussed during the October 15-16 summit.
Reports suggested that security had been tightened in Goa in view of terror threats to the high- power summit.
“The targeting of a journalist who wrote the story on civil-military discussion on terrorism is a serious matter. Pakistan right now is super-isolated in South Asia and it will be noted in the backdrop of the summit,” a BRICS diplomatic source said.
Pakistan has been facing diplomatic isolation ever since SAARC member states withdrew from the Islamabad SAARC summit of November, citing “interference”, “cross-border terror” and “imposed war”.
On Wednesday, Pakistan highlighted Turkey’s support for its position on Kashmir, and announced that Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim was briefed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s special envoys on Kashmir. Turkey’s support came on the eve of Mr Sharif’s planned visit to Azerbaijan, which, along with Turkey, has supported Pakistan’s campaign on Kashmir at the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). However, on Wednesday, Pakistan sounded a conciliatory note on terror probes with its envoy indicating that resumption of dialogue might help the probe into the terror strike on the Pathankot airbase.
Speaking to a TV channel, High Commissioner Abdul Basit said, “We have not forgotten about the Pathankot probe. Whenever the two sides commence dialogue process, things can move ahead ... by terming Pakistan a terror state, India is closing all doors. It does not serve any purpose.”
Mr Basit’s assurances on Pathankot, however, failed to get desirable a response. External Affairs Ministry sources said that the envoy came across as “completely unreliable” during the interview.
The report in Dawn had revealed that Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry had informed the military-intelligence chiefs that terrorism had to be addressed to avoid growing the diplomatic isolation of Pakistan.
On Wednesday, Dawn carried an editorial clarifying that it continues to stand by the story even as the author of the report, Cyril Almeida, tweeted that Prime Minister Sharif’s government had “uglier” plans against him.
The BRICS summit is likely to discuss international terrorism in line with the September 14-15 meeting of BRICS National Security Advisers. The shadow of terror also emerged on Goa with tight security measures being put in place to prevent any disruptive incident.