Pakistani nation committed and united against extremism, terrorism; PM

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Thursday said the Pakistan nation was united and committed against terrorism and extremism and had played its part in bringing peace to the country and the region.

Addressing the concluding session of the three-day National International Counter Terrorism Forum (IICTF), the Prime Minister urged the international community for its role in addressing the causes leading to extremism and terrorism.

“We have fought a world war against terrorism,” and now it was for the world to do more. Abbasi said he was happy and proud to note that Pakistan had made success in an area where the rest of the world failed.

He said no country in the world had committed over 200,000 troops to eradicate the threat and had conducted numerous civil and military operations across the country to wipe out all sanctuaries of terrorists.

“We do not accept the narrative that there are any sanctuaries in Pakistan that are [bringing] any instability to Afghanistan. That is not the truth.”

“In fact today, unfortunately, the reverse is true. The people instigating terrorism in Pakistan are based in Afghanistan,” Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said.

He said it was the reality that everyone needed to accept and counter it. He said Pakistan in a bid to protect itself was fencing its border with Afghanistan.

He mentioned the recent bombing at a religious seminary in Kunduz in which tens of young children were killed and said “this is what breeds radicalism and extremism.”

The Prime Minister dismissed the narrative that Pakistan did not support peace in Afghanistan and said “no other country is more interested in peace in Afghanistan than Pakistan.” He said Pakistan was the first country that faced the impact of instability in neighbouring Afghanistan.

“War is no solution to Afghanistan,” he said and reiterated Pakistan’s support for dialogue to achieve peace and said his government was ready to facilitate it.

The Prime Minister also urged the world to take note of the indigenous freedom movement in Kashmir and said the issue could only be resolved through implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions.

He mentioned the State brutality and gross human rights violations by the Indian occupation forces that did not differentiate between women, children, elderly and the youth. He pointed to the recent 17 deaths of youth in cold blood and said such acts breed extremism and terrorism.

The Prime Minister called for addressing the causes leading to acts of extremism and terrorism and said there could be no lasting peace unless such simmering issues were not resolved.

During the event organised by National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA), one minute silence was observed to honour all those who lost lives in the war against terrorism.

Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Minister for Interior Ahsan Iqbal, Governor Sindh Muhammad Zubair, Opposition Leader in Senate Ms. Sherry Rehman, political leaders, diplomats and senior officials attended the event.

The Prime Minister said Pakistan had come a long way in its fight against extremism and terrorism and recalled that after the invasion of Afghanistan by the USSR in 1979 the country faced an influx of weapons and drugs, besides bearing the fallout of the collapse of the Soviet Union.

He said the attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar proved to be a turning point for Pakistan, when it made a firm resolve to rid the country of all sorts of extremism and terrorism.

He said the nation stood united and radical measures were taken and operations conducted to clear the country of such elements.

Pakistan, he said was today a much safer country and mentioned the port city Karachi which had dropped down from being the top ten most dangerous cities in the world.

“We countered and defeated terrorists and we are committed to continue to do so,” he added.

The Prime Minister said the country was progressing economically and said the China Pakistan Economic Corridor would open up the country to Europe and Central Asian Republics.

He said the growth rate was expected to reach over 6 percent owing to the several bold initiatives of the government.

He said his government stood firm in putting the economy back on track as he believed that it was the biggest check on terrorism.

He said the Pakistani nation had always rejected radicalism and no such party had ever succeeded in the general elections, nor they would in the next. Abbasi also mentioned the ban on the use of private ownership of automatic weapons and the public religious stance of castigating suicide bombing and that declaring Jehad was only the right of the State and not any individual.-APP

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