Pakistan asks US for immediate elimination of terrorists sanctuaries in Afghanistan

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APP60-24 ISLAMABAD: August 24 - Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi chairs meeting of the National Security Committee. APP

 

ISLAMABAD, Aug 24 (APP): The National Security Committee
Thursday demanded an immediate US military effort to eliminate
sanctuaries harbouring terrorists and miscreants on the Afghan
soil and rejected the notion that India could be the net
security provider in the South Asia region.
The committee while rejecting specific allegations and
insinuations against Pakistan by US President Donald Trump, said
the country had an abiding interest in peace and stability in
Afghanistan.
“Scapegoat[ing] Pakistan will not help in stabilizing
Afghanistan,” a strong statement issued at the end of the meeting
said.
The meeting of the National Security Committee, chaired by
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi here at the PM Office, after a
threadbare discussion on the Trump Administration’s South Asia
Strategy categorically stated that “the Afghan war cannot be fought
in Pakistan.”
The statement issued at the end of the marathon session
attended by the Services Chiefs and senior cabinet members, said:
“More specifically, we would like to see effective and immediate
US military efforts to eliminate sanctuaries harbouring
terrorists and miscreants on the Afghan soil, including those
responsible for fomenting terror in Pakistan.”
The NSC pointed out that being immediate neighbour, Pakistan
had an abiding interest in peace and stability in Afghanistan.
The committee categorically said: “India cannot be a net
security provider in the South Asia region when it has conflictual relationships with all its neighbours and is pursuing a policy of destabilizing Pakistan from the east and the west.”
It expressed deep concern at “Indian policies inimical to
peace in the region, including interference in the internal affairs
of neighbouring countries and using terrorism as an instrument of
state policy.”
The NSC condemned state inflicted repression on the people of
Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and reiterated Pakistan’s
continued diplomatic, political and moral support for their struggle
for self-determination.
“The committee reaffirmed Pakistan’s resolve to protect its
sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

The NSC, the country’s highest civil-military forum, observed
that Pakistan had to manage the blowback of a protracted conflict
in Afghanistan that resulted in deluge of refugees, flow of drugs
and arms, and more recently in the shape of terrorist safe havens
in eastern Afghanistan from where anti-Pakistan terrorist groups
continue to operate and launch attacks inside Pakistan.
“The fact remains that the complex issues and internal
dynamics inside Afghanistan pose a grave challenge not only to
Pakistan but to the broader region and the international
community.”
While noting the US commitment to continue to shoulder the
burden of Afghanistan and reverse the expanding ungoverned spaces in
the country, the committee observed that Pakistan had consistently
supported all international efforts for a stable and peaceful
Afghanistan and had also committed more than a billion US dollars
for infrastructure and social development in that country.
Over the years, the statement said, Pakistan had worked with
both the United States and Afghanistan to promote peace through a
politically negotiated outcome which, in Pakistan’s view, remained
the best option to bring stability to the war torn country.
“A prolonged military campaign in Afghanistan has resulted in
destruction and killing of hundreds of thousands of Afghan
civilians,” the NSC noted and pointed out that Pakistan had also
endorsed and supported all Afghan-owned and Afghan-led initiatives
for peace.
“It is Pakistan’s expectation that any strategy adopted to
stabilize Afghanistan will succeed to end this protracted conflict
and usher in an era of peace in the country paving way for the
dignified return of millions of Afghan refugees residing in
Pakistan for which we are willing to extend all possible
cooperation.”
The National Security Committee said on its own part, Pakistan
had taken indiscriminate actions against all terrorist networks and
sacrificed tens of thousands of troops and civilians in that fight.
The demonstrated security improvement inside Pakistan, it
said, would not have been possible without eliminating all terrorist hideouts. Moreover, successful cooperation with the US in the past
against the common enemy, terrorism, reflected Pakistan’s
unflinching commitment to eliminate this menace, the committee
added.
Referring to Donald Trump’s assertion of payment of billions
of dollars to Pakistan over the years, the committee said instead of
any financial or material assistance, there should be understanding
and recognition of Pakistan’s efforts, contributions and sacrifice
of thousands of Pakistanis and over 120 billion US dollars of
economic losses.
“We consider the lives of the citizens of other countries as
sacrosanct as those of our own and, therefore, Pakistan is committed
to not allowing its soil to be used for violence against any other
country. We expect the same from our neighbours.”
The NSC said the claims of billions of dollars in aid to
Pakistan were misleading to the extent that the reimbursements to
Pakistan since 2001 only accounted for part of the cost of ground
facilities and air corridors used by the United States for its
operations in Afghanistan, rather than any financial aid or
assistance.
“Pakistan’s effective counter-terrorism operations have
clearly proved that tide of terrorism can be reversed and we are
willing to share our experience with both the US and Afghanistan.”
This would require working together and focusing on core
issues of eliminating safe havens inside Afghanistan, border
management, return of refugees and reinvigorating the peace
process for a political settlement in Afghanistan, it added.
The committee underscored that as a responsible nuclear
weapon state, Pakistan had in place a robust and credible command
and control system which had been universally recognized and
appreciated.
“Pakistan will continue to extend all possible cooperation to
the international community for achieving the common objectives of
peace and stability in Afghanistan and in the broader region.”
The NSC meeting was attended by Foreign Minister Khawaja
Muhammad Asif, Defence Minister Engineer Khurram Dastgir, Interior
Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Chief of the
Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Air Chief Air Marshal Sohail
Aman and Naval Chief Admiral Zakaullah, besides National Security
Advisor Nasser Khan Janjua and Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua.