Afghan soil being used to harm Pakistan despite deal: Kh Asif

Defence Minister Khawaja Asif. — AFP/File

Afghan soil is being used to harm Pakistan despite an agreement with the Taliban government, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said on Monday while speaking on Geo News show Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Sath

Khawaja appeared on the show after the conclusion of the National Security Committee (NSC) meeting in Islamabad.

The minister said that the Afghan authorities had assured Islamabad that their territory wouldn’t be used against Pakistan. 

“The Pakistani government is in constant touch with Afghanistan in connection with border violations,” he said.

Recalling a meeting of the parliamentary committee on national security, Asif said that former army chief General (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa and former director general of Inter-Services Intelligence General (retd) Faiz Hameed briefed the National Assembly about the background of the talks with the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and subsequent developments. 

However, it did not produce any positive results, he said.

He pointed out that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) accounted for 58% of all terrorist incidents in Pakistan, with some of them also occurring in Balochistan. Meanwhile, in Sindh and Punjab, these incidents are few and far between, he added.

Imran Khan, the chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), is repeatedly voicing his grievances yet he seems completely oblivious to the 2018 political engineering.

Setting aside the PTI leaders’ allegations regarding General Bajwa’s involvement in the no-confidence motion against Imran Khan that led to his ouster in April last year, the defence minister asserted that he wonders how he [Bajwa] has anything to do with the [no-confidence] motion given the fact that it was produced in Parliament. He called on Imran Khan to reform his behaviour.

When questioned about the absence of KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan at the NSC meeting, he said, “How many times did Imran Khan, while he was at the helm of affairs, invite Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah to the NSC?”

“Imran Khan is levelling allegations against everyone, including the United States and national institutions,” he said. “On the other hand, we will knock at every door to achieve unanimity on national issues,” he said.

Friendly countries want to assist Pakistan and encourage the country to remain in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme, he remarked. Accordingly, the government has decided to stay in the IMF programme, he said.

“We will have to take tough decisions. We will ensure that the middle-class and low-income sections of society are not overly burdened,” he vowed.

NSC decides not to let anyone ‘facilitate terrorists’

Earlier on Monday, the NSC, under the leadership of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, decided that no country will be allowed to provide sanctuaries and facilitation to terrorists and Pakistan reserves all rights to safeguard its people.

The resolves come during the 40th meeting of the NSC held in Islamabad, according to an official statement issued by the Prime Minister’s House on Monday.

On Friday also, the NSC vowed to respond firmly to resurgent terrorism in the country and declared militants as “enemies of Pakistan”.

The law and order situation in the country has worsened over the past few months. Terrorist groups, including the banned TTP, executed terror attacks across the country.

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