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ISLAMABAD: Foreign Office said on Friday that the government of Pakistan has received assurances of sustained action against Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other terror outfits in Afghanistan and hoped that the Afghan interim government will respect the promises that the country’s soil will not be used against Pakistan or any other country.

Speaking at her weekly media briefing, Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said that the TTP is a threat to Pakistan and there is no denying that fact.

She said that Pakistan has suffered enormously because of the activities of terrorist groups including TTP, which has continued to target Pakistani citizens and security forces.

“We have received assurances of sustained counter-terrorism action against TTP and other terrorist organizations and we hope that the promises that have been made will be respected,” she said in response to a question about the State Department spokesperson’s remarks that the US seeks strong partnership with Pakistan on counterterrorism and expect sustained action against militant and terrorist groups and it looks forward to cooperate in the efforts to eliminate all regional and global terrorist threats.

In response to similar other questions about the TTP and its activities, she said that Pakistan has suffered enormously from terrorism and there has been a lot of bloodshed and lots of lives have been lost. “We are; therefore, seriously, concerned about the terrorist activities that take place in Pakistan,” she said.

About the discussions of Minister of State (MoS) for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar in Kabul during her recent visit, she said that all bilateral and international issues of mutual concern were discussed during various meetings of the MoS.

“The Afghan side has reassured that the Afghanistan territory will not be used for terrorism against Pakistan or any other country. We hope that they will respect their promises,” she added.

“This week’s visit of the Minister of State to Kabul was meant to convey the importance that Pakistan accords to its longstanding fraternal ties with Afghanistan. We wished to reiterate Pakistan’s commitment to work with Afghanistan to strengthen mutually-beneficial cooperation across the entire spectrum of our bilateral relations,” she said.

She added that Pakistan also desires to pursue dialogue to further expand and consolidate ties with Afghanistan in the areas of economy and trade, connectivity, and people-to-people contacts. “We also wanted to discuss how the two countries could together work towards unlocking the inherent potential of Afghanistan, as a hub of connectivity and regional integration, with benefits for the entire region,” she added.

From Pakistan’s perspective, she added that the visit carried great significance, adding that this was the first high-level political visit from Pakistan in the last several months and a tangible manifestation of our intention to continue our engagement with Afghanistan and to discuss all issues of concern to Pakistan.

In the various meetings, she added that the Pakistan side clearly spelt out its key concerns and preferences in a candid and constructive manner. “The two sides agreed to develop institutional mechanisms for a robust follow-up to address various bilateral issues. Going forward, Pakistan will continue to maintain this momentum,” she added.

Asked to comment on the US designation of TTP and al-Qaeda leaders as global terrorists and skipping to list “Majeed brigade” which has actively been involved in attacking Chinese interests and Chinese nationals in Pakistan, she said these are technical issues, which are under discussion in New York. “We are in contact with our partners in New York, including the members of the UN Security Council to find a solution to this issue,” she added.

To another query, she said that Pakistan has a very consistent policy as far as international terrorism is concerned. “We have cooperated with international partners including the United States in combating international terrorism,” she added.

Asked to comment on Pakistan voting “no” at the UN Human Rights Council in the vote that called for investigations on the alleged human rights violations in Iran, she said that Pakistan has a consistent policy of not interfering in the domestic affairs of countries. “Decisions in respect of our votes at the United Nations are taken keeping in view these considerations,” she added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022


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