Balochistan drone strike had negative impact on Afghan peace process: Fatemi

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ISLAMABAD, Jun 7 (APP): Describing the May 21 drone strike in Balochistan as “illegal” and violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty, Special Assistant to PM on Foreign Affairs, Syed Tariq Fatemi on Tuesday said it also had a negative impact on the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan.

Speaking in a PTV programme Nuqta-e-Nazr, Tariq Fatemi said Pakistan has already registered its strong protest with the United States over the strike – in which Taliban chief Mullah Mansoor was killed – and conveyed that it would not tolerate such unilateral actions.

He said the drone strike has also put a question mark on the United States’ intentions about peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan.

Tariq Fatemi said after the drone strike, US Ambassador was summoned to the Foreign Office to convey Pakistan’s concern over the strike.

He said it was astonishing that despite the fact that the US Representative attended the meeting of Quadrilateral Coordination Committee (QCC) on May 18, which was pushing the peace process in Afghanistan, a bilateral drone strike was carried out on May 21, which damaged the peace efforts.

He said Pakistan believed that dialogue was the only option to ensure peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan, as peace in Afghanistan was also vital for peace in the region.

Tariq Fatemi mentioned the immense sacrifices given by Pakistan in the war against terrorism and said Pakistan was the only country in the world that had deployed around 200,000 troops in the Operation Zarb-e-Azb aimed at eliminating terrorism and terrorists from its soil.

To a question, he said, Pakistan was also firm on better and effective border management with Afghanistan and had taken various steps in this respect, which would bring positive results in the near future.

About the Indian bid for membership of the Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG), Tariq Fatemi said, the objective of non-proliferation cannot be negated with discriminatory approaches in the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

He said as the NSG was created in reaction to the Indian nuclear tests, now offering NSG membership to India would give a negative signal on proliferation.

“Our candidature should also be considered,” he maintained.

To a question about Iran-India cooperation in Chahbahar, Tariq Fatemi said Pakistan with a two million population and having linkages with Central Asian States and Gulf, was a strong country and there was no need to worry.

He said Pakistan has historic relations with Iran as well, adding, this region had a lot of economic potential. “We have enough to get fair share,” he remarked.

Tariq Fatemi also mentioned the presence of three million Afghan refugees on Pakistani soil and urged the international community to help in repatriation and re-settlement of these refugees by creating opportunities in Afghanistan.

He also mentioned that out of the three million Afghan refugees, only 1.5 million were registered, adding, the Ministry of Interior was taking necessary measures to ensure the registration of remaining refugees.

To a question about Pak-India relations and the capturing of Indian RAW officer Kulbhushan Yadev in Balochistan, Tariq Fatemi said Pakistan and India should have a sustained dialogue process to address all issues.

He said the two countries were facing the issues such as poverty illiteracy etc. and these can only be addressed with the dialogue process.

Tariq Fatemi, however, added that “we are not seeking dialogue” as it was India which have to fulfil its promises and commitment over the dialogue.

To a question about Kulbhushan Yadev, the Special Assistant said as he (Yadev) is a serving Indian Navy officer, Pakistan has also sensitized its friendly countries as well as major powers on this issue.