Pakistan has been rendering continuous sacrifices for the cause of global peace, official says
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Islamabad: Pakistan on Friday rejected accusations that Islamabad was supporting the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani Network, saying the country would not allow its land to be used against any of its neighbouring states.
Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal, shortly after a meeting between top Pakistani and Afghan officials in Islamabad, said Pakistan strongly rejects accusations of supporting the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network and opposes terrorism in any shape and form.
The Afghan president slammed Pakistan on Friday, blaming it for a wave of massive deadly attacks that have ravaged his nation recently and accusing Islamabad of harbouring the Taliban.
In a televised speech to the nation, Ashraf Gani insisted the “centre of Taliban terrorism is in Pakistan” and demanded that authorities in the neighbouring country “show some concrete action to rid their territory of insurgents.”
Gani also urged those among the Taliban who wanted to talk peace with the government to separate themselves from those who want only to fight.
“The Afghan nation is waiting for clear action” from Pakistan, said Gani, adding that so far Afghanistan got only promises of cooperation from Islamabad. Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua was expected to travel to Kabul on Saturday with Islamabad’s response, after reviewing the Afghan documents.
Faisal said Pakistan has been rendering continuous sacrifices for the cause of global peace and would not allow its land to be used against any of its neighbouring countries. The country also expected the same from its neighbours, the spokesperson said.
The FO spokesperson reiterated that focus should be on eliminating safe havens of the TTP, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar in Afghanistan.
Pakistan has constructed 975 posts along its border with Afghanistan, while Afghanistan has built nearly 200 posts only, Faisal said. At least 470 attacks were carried out in Pakistan from Afghanistan, he said.
The spokesperson noted that the 27 suspects handed over to Afghan authorities recently were in connection to the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani network.
“We want a solution to the Afghan issue in accordance with the wishes of the Afghan public,” the spokesperson said, adding that Pakistan wants immediate and dignified return of Afghan refugees to their country.
Pakistan’s foreign policy is in accordance with the wishes of its people and national interests, he said.
Shedding light on the meeting, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif had said Pakistan “stands with its Afghan brothers in this hour of grief,” referring to the recent spate of bomb-and-gun attacks in Kabul over the past month which have claimed nearly 200 lives.
The FO said that first meeting of Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Working Group would be held in Kabul on Saturday.
The spokesperson said Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua would lead the Pakistani delegation.
He said Pakistan had proposed five joint working groups which focus on ensuring comprehensive engagement for countering terrorism, intelligence sharing, military, economy, trade and transit interaction, refugee repatriation and connectivity.
Dr Faisal said Pakistan has always maintained that there is no military path to peace and stability in Afghanistan and only an Afghan led and Afghan owned peace process will ensure peace there.
He said the endless cycle of violence in Afghanistan for decades will only add to the woes of people of that country including the Afghan refugees in Pakistan who will not be able to return to their homes and reunite with their beloved ones.
To a question about Pak-US relations, the spokesperson said we wish for strong relations with the United States based on mutual respect and friendship and do not expect assistance to be the yardstick of measuring bilateral relations.
The spokesperson said Pakistan looks forward to mutually beneficial partnership with all countries and its foreign policy reflects the aspirations of its people and serves its national interests.
He said Pakistan has taken indiscriminate action against all terrorist groups with the commitment to eradicate terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
The Foreign Office, in its briefing, also said that a Pakistani peacekeeper, Naik Naeem Raza, deployed with the United Nations stabilisation mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) was martyred, while another Pakistani peacekeeper was wounded in an ambush.