KARACHI: Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif during an interview with Asia Society disclosed Pakistan was offered to exchange self-confessed Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav with a terrorist involved in the 2014 attack on Army Public School in Peshawar.
On being asked if India is using its presence in Afghanistan to undermine Pakistan's stability, the minister replied in the affirmative. "Whatever economic development India has achieved in Afghanistan, it is on our [Pakistan] border. India has several [four] consulates on our border and most of the investments they are doing is in the Pashtun area, along our border."
The minister, while referring to Pakistan being blamed for providing safe havens to terrorists on its soil said, "The Afghan government has admitted that Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan has safe havens on Afghan soil and operates from there. The terrorist who killed children in APS in Peshawar, is in Afghan custody."
Haqqanis, LeT chief 'were your darlings', Asif tells US
"The [Afghan] national security adviser told me we can exchange him for the terrorist you have, which is Kulbhushan Jadhav," the foreign minister added.
He claimed there are about 66 militant groups operating in India of which only four were related to Pakistan. "The rest of them are India's local terrorist organisations," Asif said.
During the sitting held in conjunction with the 72nd UN General Assembly session in New York, Asif asked the international community, the US in particular, to stop blaming Pakistan for the existence of the Haqqani Network and other alleged militant outfits, reminding them that those ‘terrorists’ were considered the ‘darlings’ of the White House up until a few decades ago.
“Don’t blame us for the Haqqanis [the Haqqani Network] and don’t blame us for the Hafiz Saeeds [referring to the head of banned Jamaatud Dawa],” Asif said.
US ‘militaristic approach’ has failed: Khawaja Asif
“These were the people who were your darlings just 20 to 30 years back. They were being dined and wined in the White House and now you say ‘go to hell Pakistanis because you are nurturing these people’,” he added.
The foreign minister also said Hafiz Saeed, Lashkar-e-Taiba were liabilities for his country. "It is very easy to say Pakistan is floating the Haqqanis and Hafiz Saeed and Lashkar-e-Taiba. They are liabilities. I accept that they are liabilities, but give us time to get rid of them because we don’t have the assets to match these liabilities and you are increasing them [our liabilities] further.”
‘India media twisting statements’
Meanwhile, the Foreign Office has said a section of Indian media was twisting the foreign minister’s remarks relating to terrorists operating from Pakistani soil, to spread falsehood.
The spokesperson said Asif mentioned Jhadav while referring to anti-Pakistan activities in Afghanistan. "These include the launch of terrorist attacks in Pakistan with the help of TTP, Jamaatul Ahrar and Laskar-e-Jhangvi.
The conclusive confessions, the spokesperson added, made by Jhadav validated Indian state-sponsored terrorism and terror financing against Pakistan.
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