UNITED NATIONS - Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon told the UN Security Council that his country's "restraint" in reacting to the recent killing and beheading of Pakistani soldiers in a cross-border raid from Afghanistan "should not be taken for granted".
Participating in the Security Council debate on Afghanistan, Ambassador Haroon said, “Preventing recurrence of such incidents is absolutely imperative and safe havens in Afghanistan must be dissuaded”.
He said the latest attack in which 17 Pakistani security personnel lost their lives took place from across the border where there is sizeable ANSF and international presence. “It is a grave incident, which unfortunately is not unprecedented. Our response to such attacks is always through official channels. Unlike others, we neither play the blame-game nor conduct diplomacy through media”. Pakistan’s narrative on Afghan security issues, the ambassador said is untainted by polemics and provocations through actions on ground and through rhetoric have not weakened our restraint.
Referring to the Secretary General’s report which enumerated many challenges to the Afghan peace and reconciliation process and characterized progress on reconciliation “slow and uneven”, the Ambassador emphasized that a long-term solution to challenges in Afghanistan lies in a sustainable reconciliation process. The current policy, he said must be transparent and not covert, subscribing to the vagaries of domestic politics.
“Sustainability of the process can only be ensured if all stake holders not only believe themselves but also share the goal of reconciliation. The process must not be complicated by inexplicable caveats and conditionalities. The idea of reconciliation under coercion militates against the obvious lesson of Afghan history. Afghan leadership and ownership and willing participation on all such matters is absolutely essential”, the Ambassador emphasized.
Expressing Pakistan's firm commitment towards Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation process the Ambassador said Pakistan remains steadfast to a peaceful and stable Afghanistan as peaceful Afghanistan is Pakistan own national interest. “For Pakistan, Kabul is the most important capital of the world”, he said.
Ambassador Haroon further said that despite the best efforts of the world community and the UN, Pakistan is still hosting the largest population of Afghan refugees. “Lack of acknowledgment and unjustified and unfair hyperbole and poor funding, Pakistan is still easing the humanitarian burden on Afghanistan at significant economic, social and security cost to the already overburdened people of his country” he highlighted. Pakistan attaches great importance to the outcome of the International Conference for Afghan Refugees held in Geneva last month. “The “Solution Strategy” agreed during the Conference should be underpinned by a strong commitment of sustained support by the international community. They must look beyond scapegoating. We look forward to fruition of the commitment. The international community must stand up to the plate”, the Ambassador said.
Ambassador Haroon said that it would be inappropriate by not acknowledging the policy statement by NATO/ISAF with regard to avoiding civilian casualties by air strikes and expressed hoped that others would also follow the same.
Welcoming Afghanistan Country Programme 2012-14, launched by the UN Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) last month, the Ambassador said that the policy to mollycoddle on narcotics production must be abandoned. “There has been a policy to avoid antagonizing the farmers, so that forces would no longer participate in eradication of poppy fields. This has been stated in an article in Washington Post and dilated further by Mr. Wali Nasr recently”, the Ambassador said. “The programme’s judicious implementation should be finely honed to help address the narcotics problem, as highlighted in the Afghan Opium Survey of December 2011 and UNODC Opium Risk Assessment of April 2012. We have been rightly warned in the UNAMA report that financial impact of the departure of international forces might enhance the attraction towards narcotics. The warning calls for the world to acknowledge and start effective preventive measures now”.