Action being taken against all terrorists groups including Haqqani network: Sartaj

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ISLAMABAD July 18 (APP): Prime Minister’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs

Sartaj Aziz Tuesday informed the Senate that Pakistan was taking
action against all the terrorist groups without any discrimination,
including Haqqani network.
“Our policy towards all militants and their networks, including the
Haqqani network is quite clear. We will fight them wherever they are
and will never tolerate their presence on our soil,” he said while
giving policy statement on a motion moved by Taj Haider and others about
the implications of the statement of Chairman US armed services
committee in Kabul soon after his visit to Pakistan.
He said, all this was being done in our national interest and this
policy was not dependent on attitudinal change of any country.
The advisor said, “We remain convinced that Pak-US cooperation is a
pre-requisite to achieve lasting peace in the region and we have
conveyed that the end-state for both US and Pakistan is a stable and
peaceful Afghanistan that has no ungoverned spaces from where
terrorists plan and carry out attacks on a third country. McCain is
also of the view that Pak-US relations was more important than ever
before.”
On the issue of Haqqani network, the visiting US delegation was told
that since 2013, the present government through operation ‘Zarb-e-Azb’ had destroyed terrorist networks across the country including the tribal
areas, he said.
Sartaj Aziz said the delegation was taken to Wana, South Waziristan,
to see for themselves the outcome of these operations.
The US delegation was briefed about Pakistan’s efforts to secure the
borders through fencing and enhanced surveillance, he added.
“However, we also informed them of the fact that more than three
million Afghan refugees lived and worked in Pakistan and to identify
every operational level elements hostile to Pak-Afghan interests was
not always possible. We therefore emphasized the safe return of
refugees at the earliest,” he said.

Sartaj Aziz apprised the Senate that Senator McCain during his visit
called on the prime minister along with delegation and held delegation level meeting.
He said senators also met chief of the army staff and were briefed about
Pakistan’s counter terrorism operations.
He said Senator McCain many a time had expressed concern over lack
of strategy and the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan.
“McCain had emphasized that increase in troops should be part of an
overall strategy for Afghanistan and diplomatic efforts were also needed along with military push,” he added.
The advisor said, “We also shared our assessment on Afghanistan and
agreed that the security situation had deteriorated and violence was
on the rise. In our assessment, there was no military solution to the
conflict and we told the senators that kinetic actions needed to be
part of an overall reconciliation strategy. We also underscored the
importance of QCG for facilitating Afghan reconciliation process.”
However, he said, the peace process must be Afghan-led and Afghan owned.
Regarding Terms of Reference (ToRs) of the Riyadh-based military
alliance and its impact on Pakistan, the advisor said 41 member
Islamic military counter terrorism alliance had not yet been finalized.
He said the ToRs would be finalized through a consultative mechanism
of the member countries at the defence ministers level.
Sartaj said as soon as the ToRs finalized, these would be placed
before the Parliament.
Responding to a query of the chairman, he said the former Chief of Army
Staff Geneneral (R) Raheel Sharif, was presently performing only advisory role and not heading any troops.
Opposition Leader in the senate Aitzaz Ahsan said such foreign
policy should be devised which was in the best interest of the country
rather than to benefit an individual.
Taj Haider, Azam Swati, Col (r) Syed Tahir Hussasin Mashhadi,
Farhatullah Babar, Mushahid Ullah Khan, Sehar Kamran, Usman Kakar, Mian
Attique and Sherry Rehman, Usman Kakar and others also spoke on the
motion.