Pakistan wants durable peace in Afghanistan: PM

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ISLAMABAD, Sept 12 (APP): Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan
Abbasi Tuesday said Pakistan was more committed than any other
country in the region for peaceful resolution of the Afghan
issue.
Pakistan had suffered massively due to instability in
Afghanistan and believed that the solution should be Afghan-
led and Afghan-owned, he told a group of foreign media
representatives during an interaction here at the PM Office.
The prime minister reiterated that Pakistan was open to
close cooperation with the United States as their ties were
decades old and could not be defined on the basis of one issue
– Afghan issue.
The issue of terrorism, of course, was a matter of
concern for Pakistan as well, it had done most in addressing
it, he said and added, “We had defeated it.”
He told the mediamen to visit Miran Shah and see for
themselves how Pakistan’s military had cleared the area by
offering sacrifices.

The prime minister strongly rejected allegations about
terrorists’ sanctuaries inside Pakistan and said the North
Waziristan shared the same terrain with the border areas of
Afghanistan but questioned what the International Security
Assistance Force (ISAF) had achieved there.
He said that Pakistan was open to bilateral verifications
and joint patrols. It had fenced its border with Afghanistan
and would welcome if they did the same on their side.
The other side also required to address Pakistan’s
concerns regarding presence of terrorists, attacking Pakistani
border areas, he emphasised.
The prime minister said much more was happening from
other side of the border and vehemently rejected the
perception that attacks took place from Pakistan’s territory,
terming such allegations ‘completely incorrect’.
He said the leadership [of militants] was based in
Afghanistan.
He said that Pakistan had hosted 3.5 million Afghan
refugees. “We have even offered training to the Afghan forces
to come here and train themselves to fight terrorism,” he
added.
He said his government’s mandate was to complete the
initiatives taken by Mohammad Nawaz Sharif.
To another question, the prime minister opined that
democratic system in the country was being strengthened with
the passage of time.
The prime minister strongly rejected that democracy
could be derailed in the country and said the intensity and
relevancy regarding debate about the system could increase but
ultimately, it would be resolved.

About the BRICS declaration, the prime minister said the
statement was not specific to Pakistan. There was no difference
in the policy of Pakistani and Chinese governments, he added.
About going back to the International Monetary Fund
(IMF), he said the government had successfully completed the
IMF programme with minimal inflation.
The prime minister did not foresee to go to the
IMF and hoped that the government would achieve its economic
targets with prudent economic policies.
He said the biggest achievement of the present
government was to minimize inflation rate. He said the
government would be able to address the economic challenges
and its intention was to proceed with its own growth rate.
Challenges were always there but the government was
addressing the same, the prime minister said, adding the stock
exchange would hopefully go up in the coming days.
He said the current economic issues were definitely a
challenge but “we are addressing it.”
The prime minister said the devaluation of rupee was
not on the card. “We are broadening our tax net base and have
a composite plan to provide incentives to the tax filers.”
To a question about ups and downs in the Pak-US relations,
he said there was economic, political and military relationship
between the two countries.
He said the US had not clarified some of the perceptions
that were raised after President Trump’s policy statement on
Afghanistan and South Asia.
He said that Pakistan needed more collaborations and
cooperation between the two countries in various areas rather
than aid and assistance.
He added that Pakistan was a huge market and the US
companies had multi-billion opportunities here.
Prime Minister Abbasi said Pakistan and the US had a
very valuable relationship since start of the diplomatic
ties between the two countries
“We intend to work and cooperate with the US against
terrorism and if both the countries have any concern it should
be addressed,” the prime minister said. “We respect other’s
sovereignty and expect the same from others.”
About Pakistan-India tension at the Line of Control,
he said that Pakistan had always welcomed efforts
to have a peaceful relationship and wanted to resolve it
peacefully through dialogue.
He said that Pakistan had lost more than $120 billion in the
war against terrorism, besides the world community must
recognize its sacrifices.
Regarding Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif’s
visits to four countries after Trump’s statement, the prime
minister said the miniter was visiting major capitals of the world
where Mr Trump’s statement would also come under discussions
with the leadership of those countries.
To a question about Pakistan’s mediation with Gulf
countries, he said, “We look upon it as a family issue that
needs to be resolved between two brothers.”