Pakistan

Peace not viable in Afghanistan by blaming any country: Sartaj Aziz

ISLAMABAD: Advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Sunday said peace could not be established in Afghanistan by leveling allegations on any country, ARY News reported.

Giving clarification on Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s statement leveling allegation on Pakistan of harboring terrorists, he termed the statement regrettable and understandable at the same time.

Sartaj Aziz said it was true that there had been an upsurge in violence in Afghanistan along the number of deaths, however blaming another country for it would not help.

“There is a certain amount of anxiety and when you combine that anxiety with the general tendency in Afghanistan in the last few years and every problem is blamed on Pakistan then you can understand why such a statement came about,” he said while addressing a press conference in Islamabad after returning from Heart of Asia (HoA) Conference in India.

“We need to have an objective and holistic view rather to blame one country,” he told the conference.

Addressing HoA conference in Indian city Amritsar, Ashraf Ghani today blamed that the Taliban insurgency would not survive a month if it lost its sanctuary in Pakistan.

Pakistan has rejected his claim and said it is itself a victim of terrorism and that fighters of the Tehrik-i-Taliban, one of the main groups carrying out attacks inside Pakistan, were operating from Afghanistan.

According to Reuters, Ghani told the conference, aimed at getting regional players together to help stabilise his country, that last year Afghanistan suffered the highest number of civilian casualties and military related deaths in the world.

The advisor to prime minister on foreign affairs said his participation in Heart of Asia Conference was aimed at showing the world that bilateral tensions should not overshadow multilateral forums.

Sartaj Aziz said his visit, despite tensions with India on Line of Control, was highly appreciated by the participants of the conference. He said we wanted to show that we believe in peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan and have complete solidarity and commitment to bring peace and security in the neighbouring country.

He said during his interactions at conference, he clearly mentioned that Pakistan is against all forms and manifestations of terrorism and a regional and collective approach is required to overcome this menace. He said he highlighted the steps being taken under National Action Plan against all terrorist outfits.

He said Pakistan does not need pressure on counter terrorism because we have done more in this area in the last three years than any other country in the world.

Sartaj Aziz said that we are now sharing our experiences of counterterrorism with the rest of the world. He said this is a process that we are doing in our own national interest to protect our own security.

He said during his meeting with the Afghan president he unequivocally reiterated Pakistan’s position that Islamabad would never allow its soil to be used against any country.

He said he had fruitful meetings with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, Turkmenistan Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov and the Minister of China. He said Turkmen Foreign Minister appreciated Pakistan becoming part of Lapis Lazuli Corridor. He also updated Sartaj Aziz on the status of TAPI pipeline project.

Replying to a query, Sartaj Aziz said our relations with Afghanistan stand independently due to our shared and historical bonds and India cannot divide us.

India bars Sartaj Aziz from talking to media in Amritsar

Earlier, the Indian government on Sunday did not allow the adviser to PM on foreign affairs to hold a scheduled press conference on the sidelines of HoA conference in sheer violation of diplomatic norms, citing “security reasons”.

The adviser was even not allowed to leave the hotel premises and the media persons were not allowed to meet him in the hotel.

Furthermore, the Indian authorities stopped Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit from interacting with Pakistani media. He was stopped from entering the Media Centre set up at the conference venue which led to arguments between the high commissioner and Indian security officials.

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