Pakistan urges Afghan govt to take ‘concrete steps’ against TTP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan expects sincere cooperation from the Afghan interim government to address the challenge of terrorism and hopes that Afghanistan will live up its commitments made with the international community and Pakistan in this regard.

This was stated by Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, while replying to a question during her weekly news briefing here in Islamabad on Thursday.

She said terrorism is a common threat to both Pakistan and Afghanistan and we must take a strong stand against such entities that use violence against innocent citizens and law enforcement agencies.

The Spokesperson expressed Pakistan’s resolve to root out the evil of terrorism and safeguard the security of every citizen. She said we do not believe in accusations or finger pointing.

However, we would reiterate our expectations that no country should allow its territory to be used for perpetrating terrorism against Pakistan, she said, adding that it is time that the commitments made to the world are fulfilled with sincerity and in good faith actions.

Responding to another question, the Spokesperson said Pakistan has a foreign policy that prioritizes developing good relations with all countries.

She said we have constructive dialogue with all countries, including Russian Federation, the United States, the European Union, and our neighbors. She said bilateral relations with Russia, including economic cooperation, will further deepen in the future.

Mumtaz Zahra Baloch informed that Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar will undertake a two-day visit to Sri Lanka from tomorrow (Friday).

The Spokesperson said the Minister of State will participate in the 75th Independence Day of Sri Lanka as a Guest of Honour. In addition to attending the Independence Day events, she will call on the Sri Lankan leadership and hold a meeting with the Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka.

She said Pakistan and Sri Lanka have historic ties that have grown steadily in all aspects of bilateral cooperation. We also have worked closely in multilateral forums including SAARC, she added.

She said the visit of the Minister of State would contribute to enhanced understanding between the two countries and signal Pakistan’s support for Sri Lanka in a difficult time.

‘Look for reasons instead of blaming Afghanistan’

Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s Taliban-appointed foreign minister asked Pakistan to look for the reasons behind militant violence in their country instead of blaming Afghanistan.

The comments from Amir Khan Muttaqi came days after Pakistan said the attackers who orchestrated Monday’s suicide bombing that killed 101 people in Peshawar staged the attack on Afghan soil.

During a ceremony to inaugurate a drug addiction treatment centre in the capital of Kabul on Wednesday, Muttaqi asked Islamabad to launch a serious investigation into Monday’s mosque bombing in Peshawar.

He insisted that Afghanistan was not a centre for terrorism, saying if that was the case then attacks would have also taken place in other countries.

“If anyone says that Afghanistan is the centre for terrorism, they also say that terrorism has no border,” Muttaqi said. “If terrorism had emanated from Afghanistan, it would have also impacted China, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan or Iran.”

“We have to cooperate with each other, instead of blaming each other,” he said. “Both countries are brothers to each other and must work in a peaceful environment together.”

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