Pakistan trashes Trump’s irrational remarks

Staff Report
Wednesday - January 3, 2018
ISLAMABAD: The 17th meeting of national security committee (NSC) chaired by prime minister (PM) Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, on Tuesday, reviewed the emerging strategic situation in the region and beyond and noted its deep disappointment with some of the recent statements articulated by the American leadership; an official statement said.

According to detail, NSC observed that the close interaction with the United States (US) leadership following the initial pronouncement of US president Donald 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 US secretaries Tillerson and Mattis were also seen by NSC as robust and forward-looking.

NSC observed that given this positive direction of progression, recent statements and articulation by the American leadership were completely incomprehensible as they contradicted facts manifestly, 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.

NSC 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.

NSC 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 a hundred of its schoolchildren by terrorists based in Afghanistan.

NSC 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.

NSC 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.

NSC 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.

NSC 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.

Foreign minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif, interior minister Ahsan Iqbal, defence minister Khurram Dastgir, joint chiefs of staff committee (JCSC) chairman general Zubair Mehmood Hayat, chief of army staff (COAS) general Qamar Javed Bajwa, chief of the naval staff admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, chief of the air staff air chief marshall Sohail Aman, advisor to the PM on finance revenue and economic affairs Miftah Ismail, national security advisor lieutenant general Nasser Khan Janjua (retired), Pakistan’s ambassador to the US Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry and senior civilian and military officials attended the meeting.

Meanwhile, 207th corps commanders’ conference, was held on Tuesday, presided by COAS general Qamar Javed Bajwa, reviewed evolving geo-strategic environment and internal security situation; an inter services public relations (ISPR) statement said.

Forum also discussed the NSC meeting.