by Ali Hussain
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday dismissed Indian assertion of terrorist ‘safe havens’ and ‘terror financing’, urging New Delhi to do away with the practice of ‘unsubstantiated allegations’ as it undermines the efforts to eliminate the menace of terrorism through a co-operative approach.
“Terrorism is not only India’s problem but also of Pakistan’s, our region and the world. It is, therefore, important to do away with the practice of unsubstantiated allegations as it undermines the efforts to eliminate the menace of terrorism from our region through a co-operative approach,” Foreign Office spokesperson Qazi Khalilullah told media queries in his weekly press briefing.
Commenting on the joint statement issued at the conclusion of French President Francois Hollande’s visit to India, “highlighting the urgent need to disrupt terrorist networks and financing channels, eliminating terrorist safe havens, training infrastructure and cross-border movement of terrorists”, Khalilullah said that Pakistan condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
He said that Pakistan has rendered enormous sacrifices while combating terrorism to make the world a safer and a better place. “Our sacrifices have been appreciated by the international community. We, therefore, would have expected India-France Joint Statement on counter terrorism to acknowledge this fact,” he added. Asked to comment on the defence deals between India and France, he stated “we wish to reiterate that international arms transfers should take into account the imperatives for maintaining strategic balance and stability in our region”.
Responding to a query about Samjhota Express investigations, he said that Pakistan has repeatedly asked India to share the outcome of investigations into the Samjhota Express terrorist attack. “We expect Indian government to share with us the report of the investigations into Samjhota Express terrorist attack,” he added. About a meeting between foreign secretaries of Pakistan and India, he said the two sides are in touch to finalise the date of meeting.
About the Indian air force dropping of bombs near Pakistan-India border in Rajasthan, the spokesperson said the Foreign Office will seek details from Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi about the media reports. He declined to comment on Saudi Foreign Minister’s statement who denied any mediation by Pakistan between Saudi Arabia and Iran, saying he will not comment on media reports and ‘speculations’.
“Let me reiterate that Pakistan considers efforts for promoting unity among the Muslim Ummah as a sacred duty. Leaders of both Saudi Arabia and Iran appreciated Pakistan’s initiative to reduce tensions between them,” he said, adding Pakistan is in touch with both the countries and our good offices remain available to them.
The spokesperson further said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will soon pay a bilateral visit to Qatar. Asked to comment on US President Obama asking Pakistan to do more against terrorism, the spokesperson said that international community, including the US, has acknowledged and appreciated Pakistan’s unflinching commitment to combating terrorism.
“We have suffered enormous human and financial losses in this effort. While our resources are overstretched, we remain determined to root out the menace of terrorism from the soil of Pakistan, as well as from the region through a co-operative approach,” he said.
At present, he said, the operation Zarb-e-Azb is recognisably the biggest counter-offensive being conducted against terrorism by any single country in the world, which will continue until the achievement of its objectives. “While we remain determined to continue these operations, we hope that our friends, who are fully cognisant of our requirements in this fight, would also enhance efforts at their end to meet them expeditiously,” he remarked.
To a question about Taliban’s demand regarding removal of their names from the UN blacklist, he said the third meeting of the Quadrilateral Co-ordination Group of Afghanistan, Pakistan, the US and China will be held in Islamabad on 06 February 2016 in which all issues relating to peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan will be discussed by the group. “I believe that discussion on the roadmap for Afghan peace and reconciliation process will also be shared with media after the third meeting of the Group in Islamabad,” he added.
Source: Business Recorder