Fighting terrorism: Islamabad seeks joint strategy with Kabul

Published: June 26, 2014
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Prime Minister’s Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj 
Aziz said the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would like to carry forward the peace process with the new government in India led by Narendra Modi. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

Prime Minister’s Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would like to carry forward the peace process with the new government in India led by Narendra Modi. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

Pakistan is seeking to evolve a joint strategy with the new Afghan government to control extremism and terrorism with an aim not to allow their respective territories to be used against each other, a top government aide said on Wednesday.

In a major policy statement made before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday, Sartaj Aziz, the prime minister’s adviser on national security and foreign affairs, spelt out the government’s foreign policy in view of the emerging political changes and strategic realignments in the region.

In terms of security and stability, he said, South Asia stands at a crossroads with elections having taken place in Bangladesh, India and Afghanistan, the recent announcement of US post-2014 military disengagement in Afghanistan, the possible Iran-US rapprochement, and the changing political and security landscape in the Gulf and Middle East region.

He said the core elements of Pakistan’s approach would remain constructive engagement, non-interference and advancement of trade, investment and economic cooperation.

Reaching out to Afghanistan

In view of the challenges, Aziz said the focus of the government’s policy would be on evolving a joint strategy with the new Afghan government to fight extremism and terrorism.

He added that the objective of this policy was to ensure that “our respective territories are not used for attacks or subversion against each other and expanding economic cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan”.

The statement came amid continued tensions between Islamabad and Kabul over cross-border attacks. While Afghanistan has accused Pakistan of attacking and firing shells into its territory, Islamabad on the other hand criticises Kabul for doing little to stop cross-border attacks by Taliban militants.

Pakistan is hoping that following the formation of a new government in Kabul, the two neighbours could make a new beginning.

Improving ties with India

Aziz said the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would like to carry forward the peace process with the new government in India led by Narendra Modi. Islamabad would seek to intensify the dialogue on all outstanding issues, including Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek and water.

He said as agreed during the meeting between the two prime ministers, the foreign secretaries would shortly hold talks to review the progress.

Strengthening ties with US

Turning to ties with Washington, Aziz said the strategic relationship with the US was being reoriented on the basis of mutual interest and mutual trust.

“The effort is to transform the substantive content of the relationship, and to change the narrative. The US is a key partner in trade and investment, counter-terrorism, and regional stability,” he said.

Aziz said Pakistan endeavoured to build on the positives while working sincerely and meaningfully to address each other’s concerns.

Improving image

Aziz said Pakistan would continue to pursue balanced relationships, and eschew involvement in issues where no direct interests are at stake. He said the barometer would be how to protect “our security and promote the agenda of peace and development.”

Published in The Express Tribune, June 26th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (10)

  • Pakistan Watan
    Jun 26, 2014 - 3:41AM

    No way. It is in our interest if Afghanistan is in a state of war. So long as Afghans fight amongst each other, they are no threat to us nor will their leaders encourage Pashtun separatism or aid Baluch rebels.

    I have been following the elections there closely and it looks like Afghanistan will go to war by August regardless of who is elected President.

    Pashtuns will fight against Abdullah if he wins and non-Pashtuns will fight against Ghani if he wins.

    In the interest of fairness, we should help the non-Pashtuns this time, since we helped the Pashtuns in the 90s.

    And no refugees from Afghanistan should be granted entry into Pakistan once the war breaks out.

    Recommend

  • objective observer
    Jun 26, 2014 - 5:52AM

    I’ve always said Pakistan has more to lose breeding snakes than Afghanistan does. I guess the hedgers are beginning to understand cost benefit analysis.

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  • Prakash
    Jun 26, 2014 - 7:19AM

    Sartaj Aziz says two countr­ies will not allow their soil to be used for attack­s agains­t each other.

    Don’t believe him, Abdullah!

    Recommend

  • Shamsher Singh Dhillion
    Jun 26, 2014 - 7:29AM

    @Pakistan Watan:
    i applause your ignorance!

    Recommend

  • iFind
    Jun 26, 2014 - 8:19AM

    @Pakistan Watan:
    Sorry, But you are reeking with the stench of Indian Trolls. Cover blown, lol!
    That’s how you guys are working there with Karzai, no? No wonder he is flip flopping between call of his conscience and call from New Delhi.

    Recommend

  • bharatiya
    Jun 26, 2014 - 9:16AM

    it was interesting when Hillary Clinton said that the civilian gov’t in Pakistan doesn’t know the links b/w army and the extremists. so despite nawaz sharif’s sincere efforts for peace, peace is impossible till the army thinks so.

    Recommend

  • FAZ
    Jun 26, 2014 - 9:29AM

    @objective observer:
    But Afghanistan and India are doing the same what we did in the 90’s. Infact what we did in the 90’s was in retaliation to what you did in the 70’s in the first place..
    So we never learn a lesson..
    Time and tide wait for no one. They change with the changing surroundings. Its your turn today. When Afghanistan becomes IRAQ tomorrow, then we would revist our policies..

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  • Virkaul
    Jun 26, 2014 - 10:20AM

    @FAZ: This proxy war needs to end in totality if the region has to experience peace. For the moment it is Pakistan to decide if it want comprehensive peace or it wants it’s strategic assets of Haqqani and Hafiz Saeed preserved to future jihad in Kashmir. Pak military and govt must sit down and decide it once for all.

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  • Jun 26, 2014 - 12:43PM

    @Pakistan Watan:

    Using that brilliant logic, Pakistan being in war is in India’s interest.

    Pakistan is India’s Afghanistan.

    Recommend

  • Fact;
    Jun 26, 2014 - 6:19PM

    The first thing terrorism doesn’t exist but it has been enforced through well planned propaganda and fake war on terror. Whose were and are so called Taliban; one must not ignore the history and the big, bigger, biggest player’s responsible behind. Justice will prevail. Fighting for the right and own soil, faith and believe against the suppressor is the right of the people. The nation must be considered respectable and their welfare and protection is the preliminary duty of any governing body either democracy or dictators. The nature of diversity of the nation in terms of faith, culture, believe and society must he respected. The use of force against owns people are highly objectionable and dangerous for the state. The term challenging writ of government is totally wrong and against the ground facts. When the justice doesn’t exists, when the constitution violated by the army and political parties, when the role of law disrespected by the government itself, elites and its institutions, when power limited to few hands only, when exploitation of the agreements and provincial rights practices and when the hopes for justice dies and the kid and innocent used by the security establishment and institutions for their agenda. Then the people having no choice, no trust BUT to fight for the right and justice.

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