- ‘US responsible for destabilising Muslim countries’
- Senate chairman calls Trump’s Jerusalem decision ‘blunder of all blunders’
- NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq says Pakistan suffered the most due to the menace of terrorism
- President Mamnoon Hussain says war on terror imposed on Pakistan
ISLAMABAD: Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani, in response to a warning from United States (US) Vice President (VP) Mike Pence to Islamabad earlier this week, made it clear that Pakistan is not in the habit of “taking notices” from anyone.
Pence, while addressing US troops at the Bagram military base in Kabul, had said that Pakistan has allegedly provided safe haven to terrorists for too long but those days are over now, as US President Donald Trump has now “put Pakistan on notice”.
“Two days ago, Pence had the gall, the audacity to say that Trump has put Pakistan on notice,” Rabbani said in Islamabad on Sunday. “Let the word ring out in clear terms that Pakistan is a sovereign state and is not in the habit of taking notices from anyone, let alone the US.”
The Senate chairman was addressing the first six-nation Speakers’ Conference, which was inaugurated by President Mamnoon Hussain earlier in the day.
The conference themed “The challenges of terrorism and inter-regional connectivity” is being held in Islamabad, with representatives from Russia, China, Iran, Afghanistan and Turkey in attendance.
Addressing the conference, Rabbani further said that Trump, in his recently announced South Asia policy, had blamed Pakistan for the failures of the US in Afghanistan.
“We saw the US ignoring the sacrifices made by Pakistan,” Rabbani observed.
He went on to state that the US has pursued a policy of “regime change and bringing about destabilisation in Muslim countries” particularly in the Middle East.
Describing Trump’s decision to shift the US embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem the “blunder of all blunders”, Rabbani said that Washington had failed to understand that it is neither supported practically, nor by history in their decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Rabbani noted that the United Nations General Assembly had given a befitting reply to Washington when over 120 countries rejected the US move.
“What they [US] fail to recognise is that the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital will give rise to a new intifada as the people of Palestine move to achieve their historic rights.”
During his address, Rabbani also spoke about the Trump administration’s recently unveiled national security strategy, noting that a new nexus seems to be emerging comprising of US, Israel and India.
“We find the US is trying to use or build up India as a policeman of the region,” Rabbani said.
He said that Pakistan believes in dialogue and friendly relations with its neighbours. “Unless India talks to Pakistan on the basis of sovereign equality, the dream of peace would remain a mirage.”
‘PAKISTAN WAS DRAGGED INTO WAR AGAINST TERRORISM’:
President Mamnoon Hussain, in his address, said Pakistan was dragged into the war against terrorism following the 9/11 incident and added that terrorism is not a local phenomenon but is rather caused by interference of foreign powers.
The president said terrorism created immense problems in several countries of the region with Pakistan being the most affected during the last few years as more than 70,000 countrymen have lost their lives in acts of terrorism besides bearing a financial loss of more than $120 billion.
He told the gathering that Pakistan had initiated comprehensive steps to cope with the situation under the National Action Plan (NAP) in different parts of the country while effective action is being taken in tribal areas under Operation Zarb-e-Azb.
“As a result of these steps of the government, the terrorists have received a severe blow. I am sure that, this issue will be addressed completely in the near future,” the president said.
The head of the state said the unresolved Kashmir dispute has put the entire subcontinent’s peace at stake.
The president further said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is near completion and the One Belt One Road initiative would transform regional connectivity.
The future of the region is deeply linked to active linkages, increased mutual trade and intensive cooperation, he said, and invited all states of the region to join the fate changer CPEC project.
He One Belt One Road and CPEC would bring markets of West China, South and Central Asia, Africa and Europe together and a network of land routes, railways, sea lanes and Optic Highways would lead to increased and intensified interaction between different countries and regions.
President Mamnoon added that the dream of strong economic cooperation remains intrinsically linked to regional peace and peaceful co-existence. He said it is with this spirit that Pakistan has extended sincere and unconditional cooperation for peace and stability in Afghanistan.
‘WORLD HAS FAILED TO ADDRESS THE ROOT CAUSE OF EXTREMISM’:
Earlier in the day, National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq addressed the conference and noted that Pakistan’s economy has suffered gravely due to “cowardly acts of terrorism”.
He said that the problem of extremism had been aggravated by the rise of the drug trade.
“Why has the global coalition against terrorism consistently failed to control and destroy poppy cultivation?” Sadiq asked, noting that the drug had become a major source of terror financing.
“Although religious fanaticism has often been cited as the main cause of global terrorism, let us not forget that the rise of the populous right and the sanctioning of oppression has also added to the mayhem,” Sadiq said.
“The world has failed to address the root cause of extremism,” he added.
Rejecting terrorism in every form, Sadiq said Pakistan has suffered losses of $120 billion due to the menace of terrorism, and over 0.2 million people have lost their lives to terrorism over the past decade.
“Non-state actors have dealt a blow to protection of national borders and sovereignty of nations,” he lamented.
“Conflict should not come in the way of our progress,” Sadiq said, emphasising the need for mutual resolve and cooperation to counter terrorism.
Speaking about US President Donald Trump’s decision of shifting the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, he said that the controversy over Jerusalem’s status did not only violate international laws but also undermined peace efforts, divided the people of the world and fanned religious animosity.
He said that the US move to veto a United Nations Security Council’s draft resolution rejecting the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was proof that the world needs a more just and equitable order.
The National Assembly speaker further said it was for the first time that parliamentary heads of six nations had gathered to re-affirm their commitment to shared peace, prosperity and forge new grounds of mutual cooperation.
He said it was a defining moment that chosen representatives of people of these countries were sitting together to reflect aspirations of their people to live side by side in respect, trust and friendship.
The NA speaker pointed out that the six countries are natural allies because of geographical proximity, shared history and cultural affinities. He said China, Russia and Iran are among top nations of the world with largest deposits of natural resources. China and Pakistan alone provide half of the world’s cotton. Untapped resources of Afghanistan can make it the richest mining region of the world and the construction industry places Turkey among the top ranking countries in the field.
‘PEACE, STABILITY POSSIBLE THROUGH COLLECTIVE EFFORTS’:
Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress Vice Chairman Zhang Ping said no country alone can address the challenges facing the mankind and therefore, the countries will have to work together to tackle them. He said the six countries meeting today are important countries of the region and should commit to secure peace and stability through collective efforts.
Wolesi Jirga of Afghanistan President Abdul Raouf Ibrahimi said, “Addressing the challenges of terrorism should be our priority as our progress, peace and prosperity are deeply linked to the issue.” He said the problem is assuming new dimensions as terrorist groups have modern weapons and ammunition.
Islamic Consultative Assembly of Iran Speaker Dr Ali Ardeshir Larijani said Islam is a religion of peace and those misusing the name of religion for terrorist activities are doing no service to Islam. He said occupation of other countries, poverty and under-development are some of the causes of extremism and terrorism and these must be addressed to overcome the problem.
State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation Chairman Vyacheslav V Volodin said the world can defeat terrorism through collective efforts, and called for choking funding for terrorism and strengthening legislative measures.
Grand National Assembly of Turkey Speaker Ismail Kahraman said the conference is going to yield positive results and therefore, it needs to be made a permanent feature. He said Turkey has also remained a victim of terrorism.