In a press briefing held on Friday, outgoing Foreign Office spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said that Pakistan will ask the incoming government in Afghanistan to act against the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
“Pakistan has been taking up the issue of use of Afghan soil by the TTP for terrorist activities inside Pakistan with the previous Afghan government and would continue raising the issue with the coming government in Kabul as well to ensure that the TTP is not provided any space in Afghanistan to operate against Pakistan” he briefed.
Ever since the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, Pakistan has been expressing its reservations that Afghan land is once again under the threat of being used for terrorism. Since Pakistan is the neighboring country with Afghanistan and hosts the highest number of Afghan refugees, the threat is ultimately going to effect the law and order situation in Pakistan.
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“We hope that once the new government is formed in Afghanistan, it will take strict measures to ensure that its soil is not used against other countries” Hafeez Chaudhri said.
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Pakistan has been the biggest advocate for peace in Afghanistan and when Hafeez Chaudhri was asked regarding the prisoners being released by Afghan Taliban, including TTP leaders like Maulvi Faqir Mohammad, he said: “We have seen some media reports in this regard. We have [opposed] and continue to oppose support for any individual or any proscribed groups that remained involved in terrorist activities inside Pakistan.”
“We have consistently supported the Afghan peace process and have extended necessary development assistance. We have committed over $1 billion for projects in health, education and infrastructure in Afghanistan. … Moving forward, we will continue to support the peace process and development in Afghanistan, as we have done in the past” he said.
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Referring to the statement issued by Taliban claiming that they will not let their land be used for terrorism, Hafeez Chaudhri said that it is a positive indication from the newly formed government.
To a question about India’s role, the spokesman said Pakistan had always highlighted India’s role of a spoiler in Afghanistan. India wanted a security vacuum in Afghanistan so that the country’s soil could be used for sponsoring terrorism in Pakistan.
The situation in Afghanistan is constantly being monitored and Pakistan’s government is interacting with the global leaders on the current situation. Commenting on the matter the spokesperson said “conversations with the world leaders are centered on the evolving situation in Afghanistan, the way forward, and the efforts for evacuation and temporary relocation. We see a common desire for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan”.
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Pakistan’s Ambassador in Kabul had met the Taliban leaders, former president Hamid Karzai, Dr Abdullah and others and according to Zahid Hafeez the Foreign Minister Mr. Shah Mehmood Qureshi would be visiting neighboring countries of Afghanistan for consultations soon.
This was the last press conference held by Mr Chaudhri as spokesperson since he has been named as Pakistan’s High Commissioner to Australia and will be replaced by Asim Iftikhar Ahmad.