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Pakistan top civil,military leaders reject Trump allegations

  • Pakistan has an abiding interest in peace and stability in Afghanistan;
  • Complex issues and internal dynamics inside Afghanistan pose grave
  • challenge not only to Pak but to broader region and int'l community
  • We're willing to share our experience with both US and Afghanistan;
  • Deep concern expressed at Indian policies inimical to peace in region
  • including interference in the internal affairs of neighbouring countries

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's top civilian and military leaders on Thursday rightly rejected the specific allegations and insinuations made against Pakistan by the U.S. President Donald Trump in his strategy for South Asia, officials said.
President Trump, who unveiled his long-awaited future plan for Afghanistan early Tuesday, alleged that "Pakistan often gives safe haven to agents of chaos, violence, and terror."
"We can no longer be silent about Pakistan's safe havens for terrorist organizations, the Taliban, and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond. Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our effort in Afghanistan. It has much to lose by continuing to harbor criminals and terrorists," the U.S. President said.
The Pakistani leaders met in Islamabad to review the situation arising out of the U.S. President's remarks and "observed that to scapegoat Pakistan will not help in stabilizing Afghanistan. In fact, being its immediate neighbor, Pakistan has an abiding interest in peace and stability in Afghanistan," an official statement said.
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi presided over the meeting of the National Security Committee to discuss the Trump Administration's South Asia Strategy. Services chiefs and key ministers attended the meeting which observed that "Pakistan had to manage the blowback of a protracted conflict in Afghanistan that resulted in deluge of refugees, flow of drugs and arms and more recently in the shape of terrorist safe havens in eastern Afghanistan from where anti-Pakistan terrorist groups continue to operate and launch attacks inside Pakistan."
The participants observed that the complex issues and internal dynamics inside Afghanistan pose a grave challenge not only to Pakistan but to the broader region and the international community.
While noting the U.S, commitment to continue to shoulder the burden of Afghanistan and reverse the expanding ungoverned spaces in the country, the Committee observed that Pakistan has consistently supported all international efforts for a stable and peaceful Afghanistan and has also committed more than a billion US dollars for infrastructure and social development in that country.
"Over the years, Pakistan has worked with both the United States and Afghanistan to promote peace through a politically negotiated outcome which, in Pakistan's view, remains the best option to bring stability to this war torn country. A prolonged military campaign in Afghanistan has resulted in destruction and killing of hundreds of thousands of Afghan civilians," the participants said.
"It is Pakistan's expectation that any strategy adopted to stabilize Afghanistan will succeed to end this protracted conflict and usher in an era of peace in the country paving way for the dignified return of millions of Afghan refugees residing in Pakistan for which we are willing to extend all possible cooperation," they said.
The Pakistani leaders said they want to see effective and immediate US military efforts to eliminate sanctuaries harboring terrorists and miscreants on the Afghan soil including those responsible for fomenting terror in Pakistan, adding that the Afghan war cannot be fought in Pakistan.
On its own part, Pakistan has taken indiscriminate actions against all terrorist networks and sacrificed tens of thousands of troops and civilians in this fight, the participants said, adding the demonstrated security improvement inside Pakistan would not have been possible without eliminating all terrorist hideouts.
The committee stressed that instead of any financial or material assistance, there should be understanding and recognition of Pakistan's efforts, contributions and sacrifice of thousands of Pakistanis and over 120 billion US dollars of economic losses.
In reference to Donald Trump's claim of giving Pakistan billions of dollars, the Committee said the claims of Billions of Dollars in aid to Pakistan are also misleading to the extent that the reimbursements to Pakistan since 2001 only account for part of the cost of ground facilities and air corridors used by the United States for its operations in Afghanistan, rather than any financial aid or assistance.  The committee said the participants consider the lives of the citizens of other countries as sacrosanct as those of our own and, therefore, Pakistan is committed to not allowing its soil to be used for violence against any other country. "We expect the same from our neighbours. Moreover, successful cooperation with the US in the past against the common enemy, terrorism, reflects Pakistan's unflinching commitment to eliminate this menace."
The committee said Pakistan's effective counter-terrorism operations have clearly proved that tide of terrorism can be reversed and "we are willing to share our experience with both the US and Afghanistan. This would require working together and focusing on core issues of eliminating safe havens inside Afghanistan, border management, return of refugees and reinvigorating the peace process for a political settlement in Afghanistan."
The Committee stressed that India cannot be a net security provider in the South Asia region when it has conflictual relationships with all its neighbours and is pursuing a policy of destabilizing Pakistan from the east and the west.
The Committee expressed deep concern at Indian policies inimical to peace in the region including interference in the internal affairs of neighbouring countries and using terrorism as an instrument of state policy. The Committee condemned state inflicted repression on the people of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and reiterated Pakistan's continued diplomatic, political and moral support for their struggle for self-determination.
The Committee reaffirmed Pakistan's resolve to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The Committee underscored that as a responsible Nuclear weapon state, Pakistan has in place a robust and credible command and control system which has been universally recognized and appreciated.
Pakistan will continue to extend all possible cooperation to the international community for achieving the common objectives of peace and stability in Afghanistan and in the broader region. - NNI

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