Thimphu: Leaders of Saarc countries on Wednesday vowed to collectively combat the scourge of terrorism, extremism and insurgency plaguing the region with Pakistan and Bangladesh rejecting claims of those who justified violence in the name of Islam.
Terrorism was high on the agenda at the two-day Summit which kicked off on Wednesday with Bhutanese Prime Minister Lyonchhen Jigmi Thinley asserting that no cause could be enhanced or served through the acts of terror nor was it in any degree deserving of sympathy and support.
“Those who are responsible for the perpetration of such heinous crimes against humanity must know that they will be brought to justice in a world where nations are acting together and their individual and collective capacity to apprehend the guilty is growing,” he said.
Voicing concerns over terrorism, extremism and radicalism, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asked the Saarc countries to “revive the South Asia of our dreams that is once again a source of new ideas, new knowledge and new opportunities.”
India’s strong push for the Saarc Convention on Suppression of Terrorism and ratification of the Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters received the backing of Saarc leaders.
In his speech, Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said terrorism was like a “toxic brew” under the garb of different ideologies and underscored the need for the Saarc countries to join hands individually and collectively.
He hoped the meeting of the Saarc home ministers in Islamabad in June would help in synergizing their positions to effectively fight the menace.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said her country was firmly opposed to terrorism, insurgency, organized crimes and religious extremism.
“We categorically reject claims of those who cloak themselves in the rhetoric of Islam, or any other faith to justify violence. We are also committed against the use of Bangladesh territory for launching terrorism elsewhere,” she said.
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa also spoke of the threat posed by terrorism and made a strong pitch for collective action to defeat it.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai said all Saarc members should without exception or reservation should commit not to allow their territories to be used directly or indirectly to train or shelter terrorist networks.
He said the terrorist attacks in the last two years in Kabul, Islamabad and Mumbai and elsewhere were yet again gruesome reminders that terrorism continues to find a place in the region.
Terrorist attacks have become audacious and its reach spread aimed at destabilizing societies, he said while asking Saarc leaders to collectively resolve to decisively defeat all forms and manifestations of terrorism in the region.