- Foreign secretary claims significant reduction in terrorism after Operation Zarb e Azb, assures nuclear assets are safe
- Says Taliban in favour and against talks with Afghan govt, hopes Afghanistan would take action against Fazlullah
Briefing the meeting of Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs held under the chair of Nuzhat Sadiq, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry said Thursday that there has been significant reduction in terrorist activities since the launch of Operation Zarb e Azb, adding that the nuclear assets were completely safe and the concerns of the United States have been removed about Pakistan’s missile programme.
The foreign secretary said that the situation was improving in Afghanistan after the installation of the new government. He said the Afghan government was following the path of dialogue with Taliban to bring peace but pointed out that there were groups among Taliban against dialogue with the Kabul government. He said Pakistan’s role will be that of a facilitator in any Afghan dialogue.
During the meeting, relations with China, Russia, USA, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Iran as well as Indian admission of its role in 1971 war came under discussion.
The foreign secretary said there were reports of presence of Islamic State in Afghanistan but it has no presence in Pakistan. He said all the concerned government institutions were active to prevent Daesh’s activities in Pakistan.
Chaudhry said China was an important neighbouring country for economic cooperation while defence relationship was being strengthened with United States.
He said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement in Bangladesh was in violation of the United Nation (UN)’s charter. He said the government was trying for improvement in relationship with India but the Indian government has not shown a positive response.
The foreign secretary said there were 117 Pakistani missions and 80 embassies abroad for which the current year’s budget is Rs 14 billion. He said Rs 11 billion were for missions, Rs 2 billion for foreign visits and Rs 1 billion for Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Replying to questions, the foreign secretary said despite challenges, efforts were afoot for improving relations with Afghanistan. He said Pakistan and Afghanistan had an agreement for not allowing each other’s territory to be used against other. He hoped that Afghan government would act against Mullah Fazlullah and other elements working against Pakistan. He added that the armed forces of the two countries have contacts with each other to deal with terrorists.