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    Friday, 12 January 2018

    US knows importance of Afghanistan supply line: FO

    Pakistan Thursday said its partnership with the United States was vital for regional stability.


    Addressing a weekly news briefing here, Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammed Faisal said the provocative statements by the US leadership notwithstanding, Pakistan’s response has been measured, as we believe that continued Pak-US cooperation is important for the stability of the region, especially Afghanistan .
    He said the two sides continue to communicate with each on various issues of mutual interest at different levels. “Since, it is being done outside media glare, I cannot share further details with you. On the basis of intelligence shared with the US , we have been able to secure the region and decimate Al-Qaeda. This has been acknowledged by the US leadership. We have conveyed to the US that actionable intelligence sharing can help advancing the shared goal of defeating terrorism from the region,” he added.
    To a question, Faisal said Pakistan has been facilitating the US-led mission in Afghanistan through its ground and air lines of communication for the last sixteen years. “Pakistan’s support to the US has been critical in dealing with the challenges of terrorism in the region. Both sides understand the importance of the lines of communication,” he said.
    The spokesperson said Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif’s aggressive statements were an expression of frustration at the unwarranted US accusations and the unilateral decision to suspend the security assistance.
    He said the decision to suspend Pakistan’s security assistance was a unilateral step by the US , which would have its negative implications for the stability of the region. “On our part, we have stated that we do not seek US assistance. Pakistan’s commitment to continue its counter-terrorism and law enforcement actions throughout the country will continue in our national interest, irrespective of any suspension of foreign assistance,” the spokesperson said.
    To a question, Faisal said Pakistan’s position was very clear on talks with India. “We are ready to talk on all outstanding issues with India. Kashmir dispute remains the cardinal issue among these, which also includes the issue of Sir Creek and Siachen as well as people to people contacts, trade and prisoners,” he added. 
    The spokesperson said Pakistan had consistently maintained that the only way forward is through a comprehensive, result-oriented, uninterrupted, uninterruptible dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues.
    “We are also ready to talk about the issue of terrorism, which is a global phenomenon, and calls for global and concerted action. However, since India is not ready to talk to Pakistan, nothing much can be done,” he maintained.
    He said after the recent episode of the publication of the story in The Quint regarding convicted Indian spy Kulbushan Jhadev’s links with the Research and Analysis Wing, Faisal said: “The Indian media does not enjoy the same freedom as does our media. The online newspaper that carried the story has faced numerous difficulties, while the whereabouts of the journalist are still unknown.”
    On the question of the presence of Taliban and Daesh leadership in Pakistan, he said: “we completely deny this allegation. We have repeatedly said that Pakistan will take action on the basis of any actionable intelligence.”
    He said Pakistan had never talked about, nor thought of hot pursuit. “We have repeatedly said that we will take action against any terrorist element, in Pakistan, if actionable intelligence is shared with us .  Pakistan expects that the Afghan side will also do the same so that the menace of terrorism, which is a global phenomenon, can be rooted out,” he added.
    Faisal said Pakistan had hosted millions of Afghan refugees for almost four decades with dignity and honour. During this period Pakistan, he said, had extended life amenities like education, health etc. at par with its own citizens.
    Responding to a question about India’s plan to launch 31 satellites, including the earth observation spacecraft Cartosat, he said, all space technologies, including earth observation satellites, were inherently dual use and can be employed for both civilian and military purposes.
    “All states have a legitimate right to pursue peaceful uses of space technologies. However, given the dual-use nature of such technologies, it is essential that such pursuits are not directed towards a build-up of destabilising military capabilities, which can negatively impact the regional strategic stability,” he remarked.
    He said the 11th Pak-Saudi Arabia Joint Ministerial Commission will take place in Islamabad on January 16-17 January.
    He said as a responsible nuclear state, Pakistan had put in place, a highly efficient, robust and centralised command and control mechanism to secure its nuclear assets.
    To a question, he said, as far as Jamaatud Dawa Chief Hafiz Mohammed Saeed was concerned, Pakistan takes its international obligations very seriously. We have been implementing the UN Security Council sanctions related to assets freeze, arms embargo and travel ban on all listed individuals and entities.
    Earlier in his opening statement, Faisal condemned the terrorist attack in Quetta in which six people, including four security forces personnel, died and many others sustained injuries.  “The recent despicable incident in Kasur, which cost life of a child Zainab is a reprehensible act and strongly condemnable,” he added.
    The spokesperson urged India to end the grave human rights violations in held Kashmir and resolve the issue through talks.

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