ANKARA: Hours after Lahore suffered its second terror attack in 11 days, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif lashed out at external elements for using Afghan soil to mount attacks on Pakistan.
Speaking to news media in Ankara, where the premier is on a three-day state visit, Nawaz claimed that elements upset by Pakistan’s progress were behind the current spate of violence in the country.
He said Pakistan views stability in Afghanistan as part of its own interest and Islamabad favoured all moves to boost stability in the neighbouring country.
“With our firm resolve, we will defeat those who are unable to see Pakistan prosper on different fronts,” the prime minister said.
He further said that involvement of foreign hands behind terrorist activities in Pakistan could not be denied.
The premier urged the nation to not lose hope in the wake of the attacks and vowed to succeed in the fight against terrorism.
Nawaz expressed confidence Pakistan Super League final and Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) Summit would be held in Pakistan as per schedule despite speculations.
He said the government had launched Operation Zarb-e-Azb two years back and it has yielded positive results.
On Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad, recently launched by Pakistan Army against terrorists, Nawaz said the decision was taken at a meeting held at the PM House.
“Pakistan’s enemies are scared of its stable economy, overcoming of its electricity crisis and the China Pakistan Economic Corridor,” he stated.
He said had the momentum of progress continued uninterrupted, the country would have achieved the goal of prosperity.
In response to a question regarding relations with India, the premier said that Pakistan wanted to establish friendly relations with all its neighbouring countries, including India. “We [Pakistan and India] should maintain good relations and avoid becoming involved in conspiracies against each other,” he said.
Fifth HLSCC meeting
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Turkish counterpart Binali Yildrim expressed resolve to take strict action against terrorism and extremism within their countries.
Nawaz emphasised that “Turkey’s enemies are Pakistan’s enemies” and re-affirmed Pakistan’s commitment to stand with Turkey in its fight against terrorism.
He expressed the confidence that Turkish leadership would effectively eliminate all threats of terrorism and would march to peace and prosperity under the guidance of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Turkish Prime Minister Yildrim said his country was making a contribution to regional stability despite being a terror target.
He also said that Pakistan had a key role in the region and was making progress in many areas despite facing a number of challenges. “Turkey will continue to step up its cooperation with Pakistan, a country, which has a very bright future,” he said.
Pakistan and Turkey have agreed to strengthen close cooperation at regional and international fora, particularly the UN, OIC, ECO, and the D-8 Organisation, through mutual support for joint initiatives, policies and candidacies.
This was agreed during the fifth meeting of Pakistan-Turkey High Level Strategic Cooperation Council (HLSCC) held in Ankara and co-chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Turkish counterpart Binali Yildrim.
According to a joint declaration issued after the fifth Pak-Turkey HLSCC, the two sides reaffirmed close, friendly and fraternal ties.
Both the countries signalled a desire to give further impetus to their already existing strategic cooperation by taking concrete and significant steps in all areas of bilateral cooperation. The two sides underlined the common vision of both countries for establishing peace, stability and prosperity in their region.
They reiterated strong condemnation of the heinous coup attempt in Turkey on 15 July 2016, paying tribute to the brave and resilient Turkish people who stood resolutely in defence of democracy against the forces of darkness.
The premier visited the Turkish parliament in solidarity with the parliamentarians who stood steadfast against the failed coup against democracy in July 2016.
Nawaz visited the site of parliament’s building which was damaged by the bombing of military jets and placed a floral wreath at the ground in tribute to the martyrs.
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Published in The Express Tribune, February 24th, 2017.
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