- Interior minister also urges opposition to reconsider rally on March 23
Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid has said that India does not want to see Pakistan's improved relationship with the Afghan Taliban, adding that New Delhi had faced a major defeat in Afghanistan.
Addressing the Senate on Monday, the minister said militant attacks have surged in Pakistan over the last few months.
Rashid said that India was involved in the Johar Town blast in Lahore last year. "Indian Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) had engaged local criminals to carry out militancy," he claimed.
Last week, the minister had said the current atmosphere in Afghanistan was not against Pakistan. "NDS and RAW were defeated in Afghanistan. Taliban have defeated some 42 international forces that were fighting against them in Afghanistan," he said.
He also spoke about Pakistan's fencing along the Afghan border and shared details of the ongoing work. "Only 21 kilometres of fence is remaining with Afghanistan," Rashid informed.
Talking about the Taliban fighters' recent uprooting of the border fence on the Pak-Afghan border, he said that it was on a very small area.
The minister shared that they are also trying to complete fencing on the remaining areas of 200 kilometres across the Pak-Iran border.
Rashid also spoke about failed talks between the proscribed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Pakistani government and the Afghan Taliban's role in mediating these talks.
He said Afghan Taliban told Pakistan that they [TTP] had fought together for two decades and wanted to settle them away from the Pakistani border. "Taliban assured Pakistan that they [TTP] would not be allowed to target Pakistan from Afghanistan," he said.
The minister reiterated that no talks were taking place between Pakistan and the TTP.
"If they [TTP] want to abide by the Constitution of Pakistan, they are welcome, but if they fight, we will fight back.
"We will not allow militancy to expand in Pakistan."
He urged the opposition to reconsider their rally in Islamabad on March 23. "On March 23, leaders from different countries would be in Islamabad to attend an Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit," Rashid said.
"Reconsider your decisions. There is Covid-19 and [then] there are terrorism-related threats," he said.
The minister concluded his speech by saying that the opposition and the government were united over the question of tackling militancy.
"We have to deal with the situation collectively," he said.