ISLAMABAD: As the Pentagon decided to withhold payment of $300 million in military reimbursements, Pakistan contested US claims that it was not taking ‘adequate action’ against groups such as the Haqqani Network.
At his weekly news conference on Thursday, Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria dismissed the US assessment and insisted that Pakistan did not make any distinction between terrorists.
“We have taken decisive action against terrorists and extremists and also cooperate widely with other countries to defeat it,” he stressed. “Phenomenon of terrorism is not country specific but it is a global issue. Our sincerity and resolve is unquestionable and acknowledged in the West including the US government.”
Pakistan taking action against all terrorist groups without discrimination: Foreign Office
Zakaria pointed out that Pakistan had lost more than 60,000 of its citizens in this fight, including 6,000 brave soldiers and law enforcement officials.
“No other country has given comparable sacrifices. These sacrifices not only include human lives but huge economic losses. It is our firm resolve that we will take action against any terrorist in Pakistan, whatever colour or shape it manifests itself in,” he said.
The spokesman added that the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) was one of the many cooperative arrangements between Pakistan and the US to pursue common objectives.
“These reimbursements enable the US to support Pakistan’s on-going counter-terrorism efforts in a manner that serves shared interests of both countries. Under this arrangement, both countries continue to work closely to build on the gains achieved over the past years that have improved security in the tribal areas.”
He further said over the past decade, Pakistan had conducted a large number of military operations that sequentially dismantled and destroyed terrorist infrastructure on its side on the international border with Afghanistan.
“The latest of these major operations, ‘Operation Zarb-e-Azb’ has been a resounding success and it has cleared North Waziristan- the last bastion of militant networks- from terrorists of all affiliations,” he said.
He also said senior members of the Congress and representatives of the media visited the areas cleared from terrorists’ control and observed for the gains made in these operations as well as the development work underway, including projects undertaken in partnership with the US, for restoration of normal life in affected areas. “Pakistan remains committed to counter terrorism for ensuring security and stability in the region.”
Pentagon not to pay Pakistan $300 million in military reimbursements
While Pakistan contested the US claim on the fight against terrorism, the spokesperson welcomed Washington’s move to domestically proscribed Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, an offshoot of banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). “Pakistan has for long pleaded to take concrete action against TTP and the likes, who hiding in Afghanistan,” Zakaria said.
“From Afghanistan, these terrorists plan and launch attacks in Pakistan. You are right that this group was involved in the terrorist attack in Lahore’s Children Park where innocent people, including a large number of children and women were killed,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2016.
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