Lahore : National Security Committee Thursday out-rightly rejected allegations levelled in the US strategy and observed that scapegoating Pakistan will not help in stabilizing Afghanistan.
The meeting of National Security Committee was held here on Thursday to discuss the Trump Administration’s South Asia Strategy, a Foreign Office press release said.
The committee 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. 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.
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. Pakistan has also endorsed and supported all Afghan owned and Afghan led initiatives for peace.
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. 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 demonstrated security improvement inside Pakistan would not have been possible without eliminating all terrorist hideouts.
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 stressed that instead of any financial or material assistance, there should be understanding and recognition of our efforts, contributions and sacrifices of thousands of Pakistanis and over 120 billion US dollars of economic losses.
We 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 neighbors. 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 press release 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 neighbors 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 neighboring 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.
The NSC meeting was attended by Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Defence Minister Engineer Khurram Dastgir, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Air Chief Air Marshal Sohail Aman and Naval Chief Admiral Zakaullah, besides National Security Advisor Nasser Khan Janjua and Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua.