Beijing: The move to name some Pakistan-based terror groups in the BRICS declaration would “irritate" Islamabad and may strain its ties with China, a Chinese scholar said, in a rare criticism of the government’s decision.
Hu Shisheng, director of the state-run China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, said Chinese diplomats will have a lot of explanation to do to Pakistan in the coming months. “How will we carry forward?"
Hu also said that naming the Haqqani network, which operates in Afghanistan and targets the NATO forces stationed there, in the document was “beyond my understanding".
“The head of the group is also the actual head of the Afghan Taliban. It will make China’s role for Afghan political reconciliation process more difficult. Or you can say we have no role to play in future," the expert told PTI.
His criticism of China came after the BRICS declaration in Xiamen named the terrorist groups—including the Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Jaish-e-Mohammad, Taliban, and Haqqani Network—for causing violence in the region.
“It is beyond my understanding how China agreed to this. I don’t think it is good idea," Hu said. “I think some persons who prepared this declaration got mislead. Otherwise I could not understand why," he said.
In the light of the inclusion of the JeM, China may reconsider its stand on blocking a proposed UN ban on the leader of the group, Masood Azhar, the Chinese expert said.
Hu said the declaration will augment pressure on Pakistan, especially after US President Donald Trump rebuked Islamabad for harbouring these terror groups on its soil. “This will irritate Pakistan. I don’t think when the BRICS declaration was made, Pakistan was consulted. In the coming days Chinese diplomats have to explain to Pakistan," Hu said.
“I am not against listing LeT and JeM as terrorist groups. But there are more deadly groups than these—like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al-Alami of Pakistan, which was behind killing of two Chinese youths in Balochistan," he added.
China may have agreed to name these to include the East Turkistan Islamic Movement, which is active in its restive Xinjiang region. It is also said to have bases in Pakistan. “(But) This is too costly to China... Pakistan will be very upset," he said, adding that this could be a victory for India, which “has done a lot of work".
However, another Chinese scholar, Wang Dehua, head of the Institute for South and Central Asian Studies at the Shanghai Municipal Centre for International Studies, said the BRICS declaration will set an example for the world community. “To successfully counter all kinds of terrorism, the first important concern is violence caused by the Taliban, ISIS, al-Qaeda and its affiliates and should reach consensus on which terrorists we should attack," he told PTI.
On potential listing of Maulana Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN, he said China may have had its reasons to block the move but, “I guess after India has given more facts, China may have changed its former stand".
Wang said all BRICS members should now adopt a comprehensive approach to combat terrorism. “May the BRICS member states make more contributions to counter terrorism, world peace and stability," he said. PTI