Pakistan is going to be one of Britain’s foreign-policy priorities, said minister without portfolio in Britain’s federal cabinet, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, in an interview to Newsweek Pakistan.
Chairperson of Britain’s Conservative Party, 39-year-old Warsi said she did not agree with former prime minister Gordon Brown’s statement that 70 per cent of all terror plots have footprints in Pakistan. “I cannot comment on Gordon Brown’s approach. Clearly, (his) approach is one that I do not agree with on many, many levels,” she said.
Commenting on how extremism can be eliminated from immigrant communities, Warsi said: “There are nearly two million Muslim immigrants in Britain, the Pakistani-origin community is the largest part of that, and 99.9 per cent are engaging in society actively. We all have people on the fringe, and it’s important the community itself isolates these individuals. But we really have work to integrate everyone,” she said.
We have to make sure that all communities feel welcome in Britain and feel that they can play an active role, Warsi said. “I feel that we have to be quite clear that when we do tackle extremism, we tackle all the causes of extremism as well,” she added.
Commenting on whether her party has an anti-immigration manifesto, she said: “Britain must do what is right for it as a country, and 50 years ago there was a need for Britain to have unskilled migrant workers. But now when we have five million people here on out-of-work benefits, then clearly, the initial need is to ensure that British people are encouraged to take those jobs,” she said. It would be wrong to ask people from other countries to come in, Warsi added.
The minister said that her government will not subscribe to the words “global war on terror”. “It is very important when we talk about these issues that we are very specific rather than generic, and language plays such an important role in that,” she said. The prime minister made it clear that, to deal with issues around extremism, it is important to have a relationship of mutual respect with countries that you form alliances with.
Published in the Express Tribune, June 15th, 2010.