ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office of Pakistan on Tuesday rejected United States (US) President Donald Trump’s allegations that Pakistan offers safe haven to “agents of chaos”, as he announced America’s new strategy on Afghanistan and South Asia.
Talking tough on Pakistan, Trump had said, “We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organisations,” warning that vital aid to Islamabad could be cut.
“We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting,” he said. “That will have to change and that will change immediately.”
The FO, issuing a rejoinder to the US president’s statements said: “As a matter of policy, Pakistan does not allow use of its territory against any country. Instead of relying on the false narrative of safe havens, the US needs to work with Pakistan to eradicate terrorism.”
The FO said it is “disappointing that the US policy statement ignores the enormous sacrifices rendered by the Pakistani nation” in the fight against terrorism.
“No country in the world has done more than Pakistan to counter the menace of terrorism. No country in the world has suffered more than Pakistan from the scourge of terrorism, often perpetrated from outside our borders,” the FO asserted.
Responding to Trump’s call for more US troops in Afghanistan, the FO reiterated Pakistan’s view that there is “no exclusive military solution to the crisis in Afghanistan”.
“The military action during the last 17 years has not brought peace to Afghanistan, and it is not likely to do so in the future. Only an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned, politically-negotiated solution can lead to sustainable peace in Afghanistan,” the FO handout read.
The FO observed that the “threat to peace and security cannot be isolated from the complex interplay of geopolitics, [the] continued existence of festering disputes and pursuit of hegemonic policies. Non-resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute remains the primary obstacle to peace and stability in the region.”
The FO statement reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to “working with the international community towards the common objective of defeating the forces of terrorism and to promote peace and stability in the South Asian region.”
Earlier, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said that Pakistan has fought the war against terrorism on its own accord and would continue to do so as it is not reliant of anyone’s money to fight its war.
He also offered to send the Afghan Taliban back to Afghanistan “if there are still any sanctuaries in Pakistan”, saying that Pakistan was ready to send all refugees back to Afghanistan in order to avoid any such allegations. -DN