ISLAMABAD: A day before leaving for an official visit to Kabul on Friday (today), Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi urged the international community to continue with negotiations for a peaceful resolution to the war in Afghanistan.
The premier was speaking on Thursday at the closing session of the three-day Islamabad International Counter Terrorism Forum (IICTF-2018), organised by the National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) at a hotel in the federal capital.
Experts from across the world, including representatives from China, Russia, France, Saudi Arabia, Norway, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States, were invited for the conference which ran from April 3 to April 5. Scholars, experts, policymakers and politicians from Pakistan also participated in the multi-stakeholder conference.
The concluding session was devoted to Pakistan’s journey from victim to victor in the war against terrorism.
In his speech, PM Abbasi asserted that war was not the solution for Afghanistan and that the conflict could only be resolved through comprehensive and inclusive dialogue among Afghans.
Categorically rejecting the notion that terror sanctuaries still existed in Pakistan, the prime minster contended that elements propagating terror in Pakistan were based in Afghanistan.
Referring to the country’s counterterrorism efforts, the prime minister said, “Pakistan is a leader in the war against terror. We won where the rest of the world failed.”
He said Pakistan defeated the same enemy, on the same terrain and with its own resources. He said the world needs to recognise Pakistan’s achievements and sacrifices in the war against terrorism.
Abbasi called upon the international community to address the root causes of terrorism, extremism and radicalism for sustainable security and stability of the globe.
He said for the first time, Pakistan has started fencing the border with Afghanistan to protect “our borders and to check terrorism”.
He said there is no single country in the world except Pakistan which is fighting world’s war against terrorism with its own resources. “Today Pakistan is much safer,” he stated and added that Karachi nowadays faces only normal crimes.
He said, “Our armed forces, police, political parties and people contributed in the success in this war.”
The prime minister said the situation has now changed because of implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP).
He said today the economy of Pakistan is back on track and “we are able to implement major initiatives like CPEC”. He said Pakistan is proud to be part of Built Road Initiative (BRI).
Abbasi drew attention of the world towards freedom struggle of Kashmiris and said the issue of Kashmir can only be resolved through implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions.
“ Pakistan does not ask for more than that the international community should accept what is happening in Occupied Kashmir.”
The prime minister referred to the cold-blooded killing of seventeen people in Occupied Kashmir and innocent children in Kunduz in Afghanistan and said such incidents breed extremism and radicalism.
One minute silence was also observed during the concluding session of the forum in memory of those who laid their lives in the war against terrorism.
Addressing the forum, Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif said that country’s success against the menace of terrorism is helping us realise the vision of a democratic Pakistan.
The foreign minister said the whole nation stands united in the fight against terrorism.
He said terrorists are trying to undermine our sovereignty and no country can ignore attacks on its territorial integrity.
Asif said, “Our forces have offered unprecedented sacrifices to defend the motherland and they are ready to offer more sacrifices for the country.”
He said the nation has an unwavering resolve to eliminate terrorism and “we will not allow terrorist to become a threat to the country”.
The minister said from operations to reconstruction and rehabilitation, the strategy of the government has been successful in ensuring long term peace in troubled areas and the global community is well aware of our successes in this regard.
Asif expressed concern that terrorist outfits use sanctuaries in” our neighbouring countries to plan and conduct attacks against Pakistan”.
He hoped that our neighbours will take action against such elements and will not allow their territory to be used against Pakistan.
He said Pakistan’s counterterrorism strategy has been most thorough, robust and successful.
He expressed the confidence that democratic Pakistan would attract private investment to augment its economy.
The minister said in line with the vision of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah to have peace, Pakistan wants to live peacefully and maintain friendly relations with immediate neighbours and the world at large.
Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, in his speech said, “Terrorism is a global challenge and collaboration is the way forward to defeat this menace.
“Terrorism cannot be defeated by blame games and without defusing the conflicts. He stressed the need for systematic approach to permanently address the issue.”
He said the conflict in Afghanistan and growing conflict in Occupied Kashmir pose serious challenge to diffusing extremism from the region.
The interior minister said India is fomenting conflicts in the region and the international community will have to intervene to play its due role in resolving the conflicts.
On the economic front of the country, Iqbal said, CPEC and other initiatives for regional communication will make Pakistan a hub of trade and other financial activities which will greatly contribute towards the development of the country.
He said the forum was organised by NACTA to celebrate the endeavors and achievements of Pakistan against terrorism and such type of forum will be organized every year with different themes.
Another speaker on the occasion Senator Sherry Rehman of PPPP said that responsibility should also be taken for not just countering terrorism but also countering extremism.