January 03, 2018

Trump’s tirade: No haste in reaction, says Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Contrary to the speculation and guessing, the government has decided not to react in haste to US President Donald Trump’s provocative assertions wherein he hurled baseless allegations on Pakistan.

Pakistan on Tuesday made it clear that it was not alone responsible for the US failures in Afghanistan and US President Donald Trump’s statement was unfortunate.

The National Security Committee (NSC) of the federal cabinet in its urgent meeting reached a consensus that despite all unwarranted allegations, Pakistan could not act in haste and would remain committed to playing a constructive role in an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process, not just for the sake of its own people, but also for peace and security of the region and international community.

The diplomatic observers are of the view that Pakistan has decided to express its anguish and follow path of reconciliation instead of taking Washington on. The enemies of Pakistan which were expecting a showdown between Islamabad and Washington are in utter disappointment. The seventeenth meeting of the committee was chaired by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Tuesday at the Prime Minister’s House to review the emerging strategic situation in the region and beyond. Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Interior, Khurram Dastgir, Minister for Defence, General Zubair Mehmood Hayat, CJCSC, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of the Army Staff, Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, Chief of the Naval Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, Chief of the Air Staff, Miftah Ismail, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs, Lt General (retd) Nasser Khan Janjua, National Security Adviser (NSA), DG ISI Lieutenant General Naveed Mukhtar, DGMO Major General Sahir Shamshad Mirza, DGMI Major General Syed Asim Munir Ahmad Shah, Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US, and senior civil and military officials attended the meeting.

Ambassador Aizaz and some other Pakistan’s envoys posted at important capitals have been here since last week. The National Security Committee noted its deep disappointment with some of the recent statements articulated by theAmerican leadership. The committee observed that the close interaction with the US leadership following the initial pronouncement of President Trump’s policy on South Asia had been useful in creating a better understanding of each other’s perspectives on the best way forward to achieve durable peace and stability in Afghanistan. The visits of Secretary Tillerson and Secretary Mattis were also seen by the committee as robust and forward-looking.

The committee observed that given this positive direction of progression, recent statements and articulation by the American leadership were completely incomprehensible as they contradicted facts, struck with great insensitivity at the trust between two nations built over generations, and negated the decades of sacrifices made by the Pakistani nation – a nation that has contributed so significantly to regional and global security and peace. The participants noted that over the past several years, Pakistan’s counter-terrorism campaign has served as a bulwark against possible expansion of scores of terrorist organisations currently present in Afghanistan -- a fact acknowledged by US authorities at the highest levels.

Most of these terrorists have repeatedly launched cross-border attacks against innocent Pakistanis with impunity by exploiting presence of millions of Afghan refugees in Pakistan, a porous Pak-Afghan border and large tracts of ungoverned spaces inside Afghanistan.

The committee observed that Pakistan has fought the war against terrorism primarily out of its own resources and at a great cost to its economy, and that even more importantly the huge sacrifices made by Pakistan, including the loss of tens of thousands of lives of Pakistani civilians and security personnel, and the pain of their families, could not be trivialised so heartlessly by pushing all of it behind a monetary value – and that too an imagined one.

The committee further observed that even today Pakistan was firmly supporting the US-led international effort in Afghanistan; that it was continuously facilitating this through vital lines of communications for smooth counter-terrorism operations in Afghanistan by the international coalition; that as a result of Pakistan’s counter-terrorism cooperation, al-Qaeda had been decimated from the region; and that it was mostly because of this support that Pakistan was suffering a brutal backlash, including the killing of hundreds of its schoolchildren by terrorists based in Afghanistan.

The committee was of the firm view that the real challenges in Afghanistan were political infighting, massive corruption, phenomenal growth of drug production and expansion of ungoverned spaces inside Afghanistan full of sanctuaries for multiple international terrorist organisations, posing a serious and direct threat to Afghanistan, its neighbours and the entire region. The committee observed that Pakistan cannot be held responsible for the collective failure in Afghanistan and that blaming allies certainly does not serve the shared objective of achieving lasting peace in Afghanistan and the region. The committee reached a consensus that despite all unwarranted allegations, Pakistan cannot act in haste and will remain committed to playing a constructive role towards an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process, not just for the sake of its own people, but also for the peace and security of the region and international community.

The Ccmmittee reaffirmed that Pakistanis are a people who hold dear their national pride, who are capable of defending their country, and who have demonstrated exceptional commitment to counter terrorism and to work for regional peace and stability.

Meanwhile, the 207th Corps Commanders Conference was held at the General Headquarters (GHQ) on Tuesday presided by General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of the Army Staff (COAS). According to ISPR, the evolving geo-strategic environment and internal security situation was reviewed. The forum also discussed input for the National Security Committee meeting scheduled. Earlier, China reiterated that Pakistan had made enormous sacrifices for the fight against terrorism and the international community should acknowledge its outstanding contributions to the global cause of counter terrorism.

“As we have previously said, Pakistan has made enormous sacrifices for the fight against terrorism and made very outstanding contributions to the global cause of counter terrorism,” Spokesperson of Chinese Foreign Ministry Gen Shuang said while responding to a question about the US president’s statement regarding Pakistan’s role in the fight against terrorism, during his regular briefing here.

The spokesperson said that international community should acknowledge the role Pakistan played in the fight against terrorism and the sacrifices it rendered during the anti-terrorism campaign.

China, he said, was glad to see Pakistan engaged in international cooperation including in counter terrorism on the basis of mutual respect so as to contribute regional peace and stability. ”China and Pakistan are all-weather partners and we stand ready to promote and deepen our all-round cooperation for bringing benefits to the two sides,” he added.

When asked would this criticism affect cooperation against terrorism in the region, he said that foreign ministers of China, Pakistan and Afghanistan recently held a tripartite dialogue in the Chinese capital and agreed to further deepen their coordination and cooperation in the fight against terrorism and indiscriminately combat all terrorist groups and terrorists. He expressed the confidence that the three countries would continue to push for cooperation among them in the fight against terrorism.




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