ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz Sunday strongly rejected the baseless and unfounded allegations leveled against Pakistan from Afghanistan soon after the attack in Kabul.
Sartaj Aziz, in a statement here, said,”Following the brutal terrorist attack in Kabul on May 31, 2017, we have witnessed with serious concern baseless accusations against Pakistan by certain elements inside and outside Afghanistan, made within minutes of the attack and obviously before any investigation.”
The accusatory approach, he said, was instigated by those, who had no interest in peace and stability in Afghanistan and their malicious agenda was to damage Afghanistan-Pakistan relations and the cooperation initiatives recently gaining momentum.
He said Pakistan had condemned the Kabul terrorist attack in the strongest terms. “Being victim of terrorism, we feel the pain and agony of the Afghan people.”
He said Afghanistan faced serious internal challenges, including growing violence caused by insurgency, expanding foothold of Daesh and other terrorist groups exploiting the country’s ungoverned spaces. Increasing drug production and trafficking provided financial support for sustaining terrorism and militancy.
Combating the huge challenges, he said, required strengthening of its security network while leveling allegations against other countries only signified a tendency to externalize the internal challenges faced by Afghanistan.
Sartaj Aziz emphasised that Afghan authorities should undertake a transparent investigation into the incident in order to make a determination about the perpetrators of the attack based on concrete evidence. Pakistan supports any such investigation, he added.
“We in Pakistan are convinced that a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan is in the best interest of Pakistan. Pakistan has, therefore, continued to reaffirm its strong support to the efforts for durable peace and stability in Afghanistan,” Sartaj Aziz said.
He said Pakistan’s human and financial sacrifices in fighting the menace of terrorism had been widely recognized. The international community had also appreciated the remarkable success of its counter-terrorism efforts which had effectively targeted terrorists without any discrimination.
“The results of our effective counter-terrorism campaign are visible in a peaceful domestic environment,” he underscored.
The Adviser underlined that strong bonds of religion, culture, history and geography bound the peoples of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Pakistan had always stood with the people of Afghanistan in their difficult times. For the past four decades, millions of Afghan brothers, facing unstable conditions in Afghanistan, had lived in Pakistan with dignity and honour.
Pakistan, he said, had also been making important contribution in assisting Afghanistan in vital social and economic areas.
Millions of Afghan children had received education in Pakistan and thousands of them were working in Afghanistan for their country’s progress and development, he added.
He said,”Pakistan facilitates Afghanistan’s transit of its exports and imports through our ports. As Afghanistan’s friend and neighbour, we have also made serious efforts to facilitate an Afghan-led Afghan-owned peace process.”
He said the hateful campaign being launched by the detractors was unhelpful and detrimental for the close harmony and cooperation required for pursuing joint efforts for lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan.
Pakistan, Sartaj said, remained committed to extend all possible assistance to Afghanistan and its Government of National Unity in combating those complex and formidable challenges. “We believe that cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan is in the mutual interest of our two countries and peoples,” he added.
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