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Khawaja Asif rejected Donald Trump allegations

25 August, 2017

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ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif on Thursday rejected US President Donald Trump’s allegations and reiterated that Pakistan backed all international efforts for a peaceful Afghanistan.

Giving a policy statement in the Senate, the minister denied US allegations that Pakistan wanted to destabilise Afghanistan.

“Pakistan has been supporting all international efforts for a peaceful Afghanistan. Islamabad backs Washington and Kabul in their efforts to restore peace in Afghanistan through talks,” he said.

The minister said the National Security Committee, in its meeting on Thursday, had completely rejected Donald Trump’s allegations against Pakistan. “Scapegoating Pakistan will not stabilise Afghanistan,” he said.

“Due to the Afghan issue, there has been an influx of refugees, drugs and arms in our country. Safe havens against Pakistan have been formed on the Afghan soil. Pakistan has always taken indiscriminate action against terrorists and has suffered over $120 billion losses in the war on terror. We don’t allow our soil to be used against any country and expect other states to reciprocate,” Asif said.

The foreign minister also said the country was ready to cooperate with the United States and Afghanistan for lasting peace in the region.

The minister slammed India over its role of spreading terrorism in Afghanistan and called it a sensitive issue. “India wants to de-stabilise Pakistan from both east and the west,” he said. The minister further mentioned that the NSC members had condemned aggressive Indian policies of waging war in the region, calling it a threat to regional peace. He accused India of using terrorists in order to fulfill its state policies.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi assured the Senate that he would probe why the Pakistan Television (PTV) had not provided live coverage to the debate on the US President Donald Trump’s recently announced South Asia strategy.

Earlier, Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani had expressed concern over the non-coverage of the debate.

The PM said he would investigate why a directive in this regard had not been complied with.

During the proceedings, the Senate chairman suggested that the session be extended as the house’s foreign affairs committee was in the process of formulating its recommendations on the issue.

To this, the prime minister said the committee should finalise the recommendations which could be communicated to the National Assembly after being adopted by the Senate.

“Even a joint session of the parliament could also be convened on the matter,” he said.

Prime Minister Abbasi said the federal cabinet had discussed the issue for three hours and the National Security Committee had also deliberated over it during its four-hour long meeting.

Earlier, senators had strongly denounced the statement made by US President Donald Trump about Pakistan and said that the whole nation was on one page against the US new policy.

They were discussing a motion over the US president’s new strategy for South Asia and Afghanistan and remarks about Pakistan. They said that Pakistan was a strong and brave nation and Pakistanis knew well how to defend their motherland. The senators said a national narrative against terrorism should be formulated in consultation with all the stakeholders and the parliament.

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