–Afridi says had to wait for two hours at Torkham border to recover SP Dawar’s body due to India’s diplomatic pressure on Afghan authorities
–Interior minister says media highlights Aasia Bibi’s case but ignores Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s issue
ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi on Thursday asserted that India has tightened its grip on Afghanistan which has an impact on Pak-Afghan relations.
Addressing a seminar titled “National Security, Nation Building and Mass Media”, the interior minister claimed that India is exerting diplomatic pressure on Afghanistan as he had to wait two hours on the Torkham border in order to recover Peshawar Rural Superintendent of Police (SP) Tahir Dawar’s body.
He expressed his grievances over Pakistan’s lack of exposure in the international community, questioning why Pakistan’s stance is not being acknowledged on international forums.
“The world should admit our existence,” he asserted.
Further, Afridi questioned the role and presence of international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Pakistan.
“Why did they operate in the country from 1947 to 2015? Who gave them permission to promote values that oppose our traditions and beliefs?” he inquired.
He said that Pakistan will no longer run on foreign agenda or according to someone else’s vision.
Commenting that the previous governments’ policy was to appease foreigners, he said: “Pakistan is first for us and then there is everything else. We are an important stakeholder in regional security and need to assert ourselves and please our own citizens.”
He added that the government is drafting a comprehensive foreign policy that will benefit all stakeholders.
Further, he said that civil-military cooperation is the “need of the hour” as the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has included national security in its 100-day plan.
Speaking of media’s role in national security, he said that media needed to supplement the national goals. He commented that news that gives a positive image of the country does not always get coverage.
He added that news concerning the recently acquitted Christian blasphemy convict Aasia Bibi gets its due coverage, but the media does not highlight the government’s efforts to bring back Dr Aafia Siddiqui.
He also commended the role of overseas Pakistanis in uplifting the national image.
Later he concluded by claiming that “change doesn’t come after pressing a button” and the PTI government deserves to be given time to prove itself.