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India’s efforts to divide Pak-Afghan won’t go far, says Sartaj

sartaj-azizAdviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, who concluded his two-day visit to India Sunday, said India’ s efforts to divide Pakistan and Afghanistan on peace initiative “won’t go very far in the future”.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Sartaj said member countries unanimously adopted the “balanced declaration” at the end of the sixth Heart of Asia ministerial conference.

“Member countries agreed that they would deal with terrorism in their respective capacity. Pakistan is already dealing with terrorism as its national policy under the National Action Plan,” said the adviser.

‘Ghani’s statement regrettable and understandable’

Sartaj said although he regretted Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s statement, he could understand that “anxiety together with crises in Afghanistan led Ghani to this”.

“His (Ghani) statement is regrettable and understandable. One can clearly understand his anxiety. Afghanistan is passing through tough times but our commitment to Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace remains firm.

“We need a balanced and holistic approach because security situation in Afghanistan is extremely complex. There are many involved in sabotaging the peace process in Afghanistan,” said Sartaj.

The adviser said that the Afghan president suggested a trilateral framework, consisting of Pakistan, China and Afghanistan, to regulate the $500 million pledge for development work in Afghanistan.

‘TAPI project a network of fibre optics’

Sartaj said he met diplomats from Iran and Turkmenistan who briefed him on the Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India (TAPI) gas pipeline project.

“They told me that the (TAPI) project is no longer limited to supplying gas. It also includes fibre optic connectivity making it a network between the countries involved,” said the adviser.

On his meetings with the leadership of Afghanistan and India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, Sartaj said he only had informal discussions with the two.

“Pakistan is open to a comprehensive dialogue with India so that trade between the two countries could improve but situation along the Line of Control has made negotiation process difficult for the two countries,” said the adviser. -TN


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