Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security Sartaj Aziz on Thursday telephoned Afghan National Security Adviser Hanif Atmar to clarify his remarks regarding the Haqqani network and insisted that Pakistan is targeting all terrorists without any distinction in the on-going military operation Zarb-e-Azb. According to Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam, the Adviser said that his remarks to the BBC Urdu on 17 November were misinterpreted, as he was talking in a historical context.
She said the Adviser reiterated that Pakistan’s commitment to fight terrorism is clear and unambiguous, and that the operation Zarb-e-Azb, as he stated in the interview also, is targeting all terrorists, without any distinction or discrimination. “He [Aziz] also recalled the understanding reached between President Ashraf Ghani and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif last week that neither side would allow its territory to be used against the other,” the spokesperson said.
She added the Adviser reaffirmed Pakistan’s resolve to work closely with Afghanistan to address the common challenges and continue to make progress towards a comprehensive and enduring partnership, as envisioned by the leaders of the two countries. Meanwhile, the spokesperson told her weekly press briefing that a very close, co-operative relationship with Afghanistan is a priority for Pakistan. She said that a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan is also a priority for Pakistan, which is in our national interest.
She said it is quite often said by the leadership of the two sides that “our destiny is interlinked”. “Therefore, we are looking forward to working with Afghanistan very closely in multiple areas,” she said, adding that both the countries have historical, religious and cultural links and we would like to build on these links, carry out economic projects, beneficial for both countries and strengthen people to people contacts.
She said that Pakistan has offered about 3,000 scholarships to Afghan students and they will probably come to Pakistan when the academic year starts. The spokesperson termed the recent visit of the Afghan President to Pakistan as very successful. “This [visit] was a very successful visit. It was rich not only in symbolism but also in substance,” she said, adding that a number of areas have been identified in which the two countries will be working together very closely. The visit has enhanced and cemented the understanding pertaining to our common interest, she added. She stated that the agreed minutes contain 42 decisions and they cover a broad range in trade, economy, and connectivity. She said there are agreements like the CASA-1000 signed earlier and many ongoing projects under which Pakistan has allocated funds for reconstruction and development in Afghanistan.
SOURCE: RECORDER REPORT