Pakistan This Week (Top news Stories of the week)
Baseless US Allegations - Pakistan's sacrifices in war against terrorism unprecedented
[National Security Committee meets in Islamabad to discuss Trump Administration's South Asia strategy]
National Security Committee out-rightly rejects allegations leveled in US strategy and observes that scapegoating Pakistan will not help in stabilizing Afghanistan. Pakistan has to manage the blowback of a protracted conflict in Afghanistan that resulted in deluge of refugees, flow of drugs and arms and more recently in the shape of terrorist safe havens in eastern Afghanistan from where anti-Pakistan terrorist groups continue to operate and launch attacks inside Pakistan. Pakistan has consistently supported all international efforts for a stable and peaceful Afghanistan and has also committed more than a billion US dollars for infrastructure and social development in that country. Pakistan has worked with both the United States and Afghanistan to promote peace through a politically negotiated outcome which, in Pakistan's view, remains the best option to bring stability to this war torn country.
A prolonged military campaign in Afghanistan has resulted in destruction and killing of hundreds of thousands of Afghan civilians. Pakistan has also endorsed and supported all Afghan owned and Afghan led initiatives for peace.
(US Ambassador to Pakistan David Hale calls on COAS in Rawalpindi)
Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa says peace in Afghanistan is as important for Pakistan as for any other country. We have done a lot towards that end and shall keep on doing our best, not to appease anyone but in line with our national interest and national policy. We are not looking for any material or financial assistance from the United States but trust, understanding and acknowledgement of our contributions. Collaboration and synergy of effort between all stakeholders is the key to success to bring this long drawn war in Afghanistan to its logical conclusion. Pakistan urges US that instead of relying on the false narrative of safe havens, it should work with it to eradicate terrorism. Reacting to the US President's strategy for Afghanistan and South Asia, Foreign Office, in a statement, says as a matter of policy, Pakistan does not allow use of its territory against any country. No country in the world has suffered more than Pakistan from the scourge of terrorism, often perpetrated from outside its borders. Threat to peace and security cannot be isolated from the complex interplay of geopolitics, continued existence of festering disputes and pursuit of hegemonic policies. There is no exclusive military solution to the crisis in Afghanistan. Only an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned politically negotiated solution can lead to sustainable peace in that country.
[Foreign Office Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria addresses weekly press briefing in Islamabad]
Pakistan says its immense sacrifices and contribution in global counter-terrorism efforts have been internationally acknowledged. The spokesperson quotes many commanders and officials of the United States, who paid visit to the areas where anti-terrorism operations were being held and had commended the consolidated efforts of Pakistan`s security forces to counter terrorism. National Security Committee`s meeting vivifies Pakistan`s stance on the US policy. No other country has as much stake in a peaceful and stable Afghanistan as Pakistan has. Pakistan remains committed in taking action against terrorists without any discrimination and the efforts to eradicate terrorism will continue. Pakistan is playing its positive role to restore peace and stability in Afghanistan through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.
China, Russia and Iran slam US policy for Afghanistan
China has called upon the United States to value Pakistan's important role in Afghanistan and respect its sovereignty and security concerns. The call has been made by a Chinese top diplomat Yang Jiechi during a telephonic conversation with U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson. Yang told Tillerson that China was willing to coordinate with the United States on Afghanistan and make joint efforts to realize peace and stability there and in the region. Russia does not believe Trump's new strategy will lead to any significant positive changes in Afghanistan. Iran has slammed US President Trump's comments against Pakistan in its new Afghan strategy. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said US condemns other countries is the result of Washington's wrong and ill-timed policies in the region, particularly in Afghanistan. He said US should stop the policy of interfering in regional countries’ affairs and making decisions for them.
New US Policy for Pakistan and Afghanistan and its impact over the region
US President Donald Trump has approved to send about four thousand more troops in Afghanistan. The troops will be in addition to the already deployed eight thousand four hundred US soldiers in Afghanistan. US Defence Secretary James Mattis immediately directed the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to carry out the strategy for increasing troops. Announcing US-Policy on Afghanistan and South Asia from Arlington Army Base, President Trump said the United States cannot give a timeline for the withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan. Continuing the US blame game against Pakistan, he alleged that Pakistan has failed to eliminate the hideout of terrorist outfits in its territory. However, Pakistan has out rightly rejected the allegation and said that its security forces have been taking indiscriminate action against all terrorists. Pakistan has hosted more than three million Afghan refugees since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.
United States wants a peaceful solution in Afghanistan: John Nicholson
Commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan General John Nicholson says United States wants a peaceful solution in Afghanistan and hoped Taliban would enter the peace process. In an exclusive interview with Afghan media outlet TOLO news, General John Nicholson says civilian casualties are a real tragedy in Afghanistan. The US commander in Afghanistan again leveled baseless allegations that Afghan Taliban leadership has presence in Pakistan. He alleged that the so-called Quetta shura and Peshawar shura are identified by cities inside Pakistan and we know Afghan Taliban leaders are in these areas. Pakistan has strongly rejected these allegations and maintained that Islamabad has taken military action against militants of all hue and colors.
Successful Completion of Operation Khyber IV
[DG ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor addresses a news conference in Rawalpindi]
During the operation, 52 terrorists were killed and 31 injured while 4 surrendered before the Army in Rajgal and Shawwal. Two soldiers of Pakistan Army embraced martyrdom and six others injured. Consultation with Afghan forces was also made while the coalition forces have also provided full assistance during the operation. Ground targets have been achieved in Rajgal and Shawwal due the planned, integrated and effective operation against the terrorists. Hundreds of explosive landmines were defused during the operation.
95 percent affected persons have been returned to their homes. 91 posts have been established in Rajgal area. The Clearance operation is in progress in Khyber Valley.
Development phase is being implemented after clearance in tribal areas. FATA Reforms are imperative for development of the area.
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan's visit to Karachi and development agenda of PML-N government
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi says the government has ensured transparency in all the development projects in the country. Addressing the inaugurating ceremony of the LNG terminal at Port Qasim in Karachi on Sunday, he said that the terminal has been completed within the record time of 330 days. He said the bidding for LNG terminal was completely transparent. The terminal is second of its kind and will facilitate in transporting LNG to power house for producing cheap energy. So far 100 cargo ships loaded with LNG have arrived at the first terminal. The terminal has a capacity to handle 750 million standard cubic feet gas per day. He said that by end of November this year load shedding throughout the country will become history.