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Pakistan expects ‘sincere cooperation’ from Afghanistan on terror

‘We do not believe in accusations or finger-pointing,’ says FO spokesperson
Updated 03 Feb, 2023 09:00am
<p>Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch addresses a weekly press briefing in Islamabad on February 02, 2023. Screengrab via Facebook</p>

Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch addresses a weekly press briefing in Islamabad on February 02, 2023. Screengrab via Facebook

The Foreign Office has said that it expected “sincere cooperation” from the Afghan interim government to address the challenge of terrorism, Radio Pakistan reported.

“Pakistan hopes that Afghanistan will live up to its commitments made with the international community and Pakistan in this regard,” Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said while replying to a question during her weekly news briefing in Islamabad on Thursday.

At least 101 people were killed and over 150 injured when a suicide bomber in police uniform blew himself up while standing for prayers along with other worshippers inside a mosque in the highly fortified area of Peshawar on January 31.

The responsibility for the attack was claimed by a faction of the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban. The blast in the police lines area follows a series of attacks against the policemen in Bannu, Lakki Marwat, and Mianwali.

Many people in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which shares a border with Afghanistan, held several peace demonstrations last year against the apparent reemergence of the troublemakers in their province. Taking to the streets in large numbers, they only demanded peace and no terrorism.

The query to the FO spokesperson comes a day after Acting Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi in a ceremony in Kabul stated that Pakistan shouldn’t put the blame for the explosion, at a mosque in Peshawar, on Afghanistan. Muttaqi advised Pakistan to “carefully” investigate the explosion and cooperate with Kabul instead of criticising it, according to TOLO News.

The Foreign Office spokesperson was of the view that terrorism was a common threat to both Pakistan and Afghanistan and they must take a “strong stand” against such entities that use violence against citizens and law enforcement agencies.

Pakistan has many times in the past asked the neighbouring country to not allow its soil to be become a “launch pad for attacks”. A demand the interim government has vowed to fulfil. This is also what the group and the United States signed in the Doha agreement.

However, the banned TTP chief in an interview with CNN last year claimed the group was attacking Pakistan from within its soil. He was evasive about getting any support from the Afghan regime—its ideological twin next door.

Since the end of a shaky ceasefire agreed with the government in November, the TTP has staged many attacks in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. But, many locals say they had seen the reentry of armed people in the mountainous area of the KP months before the announcement as part of the negotiations started by the former government of PTI.

FO spokesperson Zahra expressed Pakistan’s resolve to root out the evil of terrorism and safeguard the security of every citizen.

“We do not believe in accusations or finger-pointing. However, we would reiterate our expectations that no country should allow its territory to be used for perpetrating terrorism against Pakistan. It is time that the commitments made to the world are fulfilled with sincerity and in good faith actions,” she said.

To another question, she said Pakistan has a foreign policy that prioritises developing good relations with all countries.

She stressed the need for having constructive dialogue with all countries, including Russian Federation, the United States, the European Union, and our neighbors. Bilateral relations with Russia, including economic cooperation, would further deepen in the future, she added.

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