Delhi: In a setback to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, a lawmaker from the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Thursday demanded action against non-state actors, especially Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed.
The Dawn quoted BBC Urdu as reporting that during a meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, PML-N lawmaker Rana Muhammad Afzal asked, “Which eggs is Hafiz Saeed laying for us that we are nurturing him?"
He was further quoted as saying, “The efficacy of our foreign policy speaks for itself when we couldn’t curtail Hafiz Saeed.”
Afzal also said, “India has built such a case against us about the JuD chief that during the meeting on Kashmir, foreign delegates mention him (Hafiz Saeed) as the bone of contention between Pakistan and India,” as quoted by the Daily.
At the same time the lawmaker pointed out that Saeed was considered a notorious character in international circles.
Afzal reportedly asked whether Saeed was good or bad for the Kashmir cause.
However, the Daily wrote that in an email to Dawn News, Afzal had denied seeking any action against Saeed.
But he did acknowledge saying this to them - “His (Hafiz Saeed) optics give India an opportunity to blackmail Pakistan internationally. If he is of no benefit to Pakistan, then why are we allowing his optics to affect loss to Pakistan?”
Isolated, Sharif wants action against Jaish, Lashkar
On the other hand, rattled by global isolation after India's diplomatic blitz over Pakistan's pro-terror policy, Sharif has told the country's all-powerful ISI to crack down on terrorists and end the Mumbai attack trial and the probe into the Pathankot strike - New Delhi's two key conditions to resume peace talks with Islamabad.
Sharif's blunt demand came at a high-level meeting of civilian officials with the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief, General Rizwan Akhtar, IANS quoted Dawn newspaper as reporting.
But the Pakistan government dismissed as "not only speculative but misleading and factually incorrect" the Dawn report about the meeting on security issues.
Dawn reported that Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry told the meeting on Wednesday that Pakistan faced diplomatic isolation and its talking points had been met with indifference in major world capitals.
Even China, Pakistan's closest ally, had questioned the logic of repeatedly putting on technical hold a UN ban on Jaish-e-Mohammed leader Masood Azhar, Chaudhry said, according to Dawn.
Also, amid worsening India-Pakistan relations, a group of Senators asked Islamabad to resume its back-channel talks with New Delhi.
And on Thursday, PPP leader Aitzaz Ahsan denounced the government over its failure to curb non-state actors, leading to the country's diplomatic isolation.
The Wednesday meeting -- where there was an extraordinary verbal clash between the ISI chief and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, the Prime Minister's younger brother -- came amid worsening ties with India.
India called for Pakistan's diplomatic isolation after the September 18 attack at an Army camp in Kashmir that left 19 soldiers dead.
India has said that the attackers came from Pakistan and belonged to the Jaish that was also blamed for the January 2016 Pathankot attack on an IAF base that killed seven security personnel.
The Uri attack was followed by the Indian Army's surgical strikes, dismantling at least seven terror launch pads and killing an unknown number of terrorists and their sympathisers across LoC.
Major world countries have supported India's demand to Pakistan to act against terrorist groups patronised by the ISI.
Dawn reported that the government on Wednesday informed the ISI about the "growing international isolation of Pakistan and sought consensus on several key actions by the state" to reverse the situation.
The Daily said the government, in a "blunt, orchestrated and unprecedented warning", asked military-led intelligence agencies "not to interfere if law enforcement acts against militant groups that are banned or until now considered off-limits for civilian action".
"Nawaz Sharif has directed that fresh attempts be made to conclude the Pathankot investigation and restart the stalled Mumbai attacks-related trials in a Rawalpindi anti-terrorism court," the Daily said.
(With IANS inputs)