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‘Pakistan not in habit of taking notices from anyone’: Rabbani hits back at Pence

ISLAMABAD: In a pointed reference to United States Vice President Mike Pence’s warning to Pakistan during his visit to Kabul earlier this week, Chairman of the Senate Mian Raza Rabbani said on Sunday Pakistan being a sovereign state is not in the habit of taking notices from anyone, let alone US.

“Pence had the audacity to say that Trump has put Pakistan on notice. 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,” Rabbani said this while addressing the six-nation Speakers’ Conference which began here today.

Speakers of regional stakeholders including Afghanistan, China, Iran, Pakistan, Russian Federation and Turkey participated in the conference along with their respective parliamentary delegations. The theme of the conference is “the challenges of terrorism and inter-regional connectivity”.

The Senate chairman further said a new nexus among the US, Israel and India had emerged. The US was trying to promote India as policeman of the region.

He said Pakistan believed 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.”

In his inaugural speech, Speaker of the National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq said seemingly unending spate of terrorist attacks had rocked every corner of the world, claiming over two hundreds of thousands of lives. Half of those unfortunate victims were from our region, he added.

He said Pakistan, Iran and Turkey were among the top five countries hosting the largest number of refugees.

The speaker said colossal damage caused to global economy can be gauged from the fact that Pakistan alone suffered a loss of $120 billion because of cowardly attacks.

The problem is further aggravated by illicit drug trade which largely remained unchecked and has been a major source of terror financing, he added.

“Although religious fanaticism has often been cited as a main cause of global terrorism, the rise of populist rights and sanctioning of oppression has added fuel to the fire. From burning fields of the Middle East, to denial of fundamental rights to Kashmiris, the world has failed to address the root cause of extremism,” the NA speaker said.

He said the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital not only violated international law but undermined peace efforts, adding that it would divide people further and fan religious animosity.

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