FO denies presence of Daesh

WEB DESK: Foreign Office on Thursday categorically denied presence of the global terror network Daesh in Pakistan, saying the country’s relevant institutions and agencies are fully aware of the global nature of the threat.

“We have said on a number of occasions that Pakistan was cognisant of the threat posed by Daesh. However, our security agencies are alert to this threat. There is no footprint of Daesh in Pakistan,” Foreign Office spokesperson Qazi Khalilullah told his weekly press briefing.

He said that Pakistan is fully aware of the global nature of the threat, adding for more than a year now, Pakistan has been successfully taking action against terrorists under operation Zarb-e-Azb and National Action Plan. He said that Pakistan will also not tolerate anyone affiliated with Daesh, adding our armed forces and security agencies have emphatically said that even the shadow of Daesh will not be tolerated in Pakistan.

He said that Pakistan has been co-operating with the international community in combating terrorism and the cooperation is recognised as well as appreciated by the international community.

We support a co-ordinated approach against terrorists and are committed to eliminating terrorism from the soil of Pakistan, he added. As far as Paris attacks are concerned, he said that there was immediate condemnation by the President, Prime Minister and Foreign Office.

He said that the Prime Minister visited the French Embassy to sign the Condolence Book, which was followed by the visit of Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs to the French Embassy for the same purpose.

“It was a manifestation of our solidarity with the friendly people of France, condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, our unflinching commitment to combating terrorism and continued cooperation with the international community in this regard both at bilateral level and in multilateral for a,” he added.

To a question about the rise in Islamophobia after the Paris attacks, he emphasised that terrorism cannot be associated with any religion. “Islam is a religion of peace and harmony. Terrorists have no religion. We have always condemned Islamophobia,” he said, adding the focus of international community should remain on eliminating terrorists and no one should be targeted on the basis of religion.

He further said that no reports have been received so far regarding any problem being faced by Pakistani community due to Paris terrorist attacks. However, in case of need, all possible assistance will be extended by Pakistan Embassy in Paris, he added. Responding to another question about the air strikes by France against Daesh in Syria, he said that Pakistan stands for peaceful resolution of the situation in Syria through an inclusive dialogue.

“We have also been expressing concern at the continued bloodshed in Syria. The presence of Daesh in Iraq and Syria and response of the international community to it is well known,” he said, adding counter terrorism operations by international community have increased after Paris attacks. Terrorism is our common enemy and a co-operative approach is required to deal with this menace, he added.

On US and UK expected nuclear deals with India, the spokesperson said that Pakistan has always expressed its concerns on discriminatory approach to nuclear issues, including peaceful uses of nuclear energy, in South Asia due to its impact on the strategic stability. “Special waiver for India for nuclear trade is the major destabilising step. We have been conveying our concerns in this regard to the international community,” he added.

To another query, he termed the editorial by a leading US newspaper about Pakistan’s nuclear arsenals as “mistaken and based on prejudice”. He said the editorial attempted to portray Pakistan as a country irresponsibly building nuclear arsenals.

Commenting on a recent report by Human Rights Watch, he said that repatriation of Afghan refugees is taking place on a voluntary basis in collaboration with the UNHCR, adding Pakistan is committed to respecting human rights of all and has been actively participating in multilateral forums dealing with human rights.

About cross border shelling from Afghanistan, he said that there have been numerous instances of shelling from the Afghan side on Pakistani territory, adding we have been raising the issue with the Afghan authorities. “As far as the site of Angoor Adda gate is concerned, it is located inside Pakistan’s territory. No permission, therefore, is required from the Afghan authorities,” he added. He also stated that 10th Session of Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Economic Commission will be held in Islamabad on 23-24 November 2015. Finance Ministers of the two countries will lead their respective sides.

He said that the main areas of focus will be bilateral and transit trade, review of the projects carried out with Pakistani grant, capacity building of Afghan institutions and enhancement of cooperation in other areas of mutual interest.

Source: Business Recorder