‘ISIS fighters in Tora Bora pose threat to Pakistan’

  • VOP says US trying to make Pakistan scapegoat to cover its failures in Afghanistan

The Veterans of Pakistan (VOP) on Sunday asked the media to devote its attention to other serious problems as issues linked with the Panama Papers appear to have crossed the climax and ball is now in the court of the Supreme Court (SC).

This was observed in a meeting chaired by VOP Acting President Ahmad Tasnim, a retired vice admiral. Former ambassador Salim Gandapur, Vice Admiral (retd) Muhammad Haroon, Brig (retd) Mian Mahmud, Brig (retd) Samson Sharaf, Brig (retd) Muhammad Riaz, Maj (retd) Muhammad Maqsood, Dr Babur Zahiruddin, Maj (retd) Farouk Hamid Khan, Nawaz Ali, Brig (retd) Masudul Hassan and others also attended the meeting.

They expressed deep concern over the American government and the US Congress continuing to make Pakistan a scapegoat to cover their failure in Afghanistan. Allegations of Pakistan facilitating operations of the so-called Haqqani Network were termed totally baseless and without any solid evidence.

“We expect the US to support Pakistan’s efforts to build the fence along the international border and they should have offered Pakistan, latest electronic equipment to make the barrier more effective,” they said. The American authorities need to explain about a recently published report in The New York Times newspaper claiming that about 1,000 ISIS fighters have occupied Tora Bora caves by pushing out Taliban.

Being close to the international border, they pose a direct threat to Pakistan. “This appears to have government’s approval as Hazrat Ali, a member of the Afghan Parliament and a prominent warlord from the area who helped the Americans capture Tora Bora from Al Qaeda in 2001, is reported to have asked government forces to target them, but they did not pay attention,” they said.

There are also reports that ISIS fighters were dropped by unmarked helicopters. This has been stated by Zahir Qadir, another member of the Afghan parliament, whose tribesmen have been defending the caves complex. He has also stated that he was confident that the helicopters belonged to the US Army.

The members expressed their great dismay that instead of recognising the role in winning the Cold War, “we are being branded as villains.” They supported the demand of the people that Pakistan must now develop closer relations with Russia and China. They also gave full support to the projects of CPEC which is to transform Pakistan’s economy.

They demanded ban on Indian television programmes and films as the younger generation was being targeted by India’s cultural invasion. Permission may only be allowed on a reciprocal basis, for which a proper policy and formula was needed to be worked out. On the other hand, there was a need to launch a more aggressive foreign policy to expose Indian atrocities in India-held Jammu Kashmir and RAW’s involvement in terrorist activities in Pakistan.

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