Aziz defends Pak, says wrong to blame 'one country' for terrorism

| Updated: Aug 23, 2017 11:20 IST

Amritsar (Punjab) [India], Dec. 4 (ANI): Warding off allegations that "Pakistan is promoting and sheltering terrorism", Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz on Sunday said there is a "need to have a holistic and objective view of terrorism instead of pinning the blame on one country". "The first and foremost in our view is continuing violence and acts of terrorism claiming scores of human lives. This needs to be addressed urgently and effectively through collective efforts. The security situation in Afghanistan is very complex. It is simplistic to blame only one country for the recent upsurge in violence. We need to have an objective and holistic view," Aziz said during the sixth Heart of Asia Conference here. "My participation in the event, despite escalation on the Line of Control (LoC) and the working boundary with India is a testimony to Pakistan's unflinching commitment for lasting peace in Afghanistan and the region. I look forward to meaningful deliberations today towards this objective," he added. His statement came in the wake of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani accusing Pakistan of supporting and financing terrorist forces. Applauding the leadership of Ghani and his Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah for making progress in attaining peace and stability in Afghanistan, Aziz said the Pakistan government stands in solidarity with the Afghani government to further its objective. "Afghan security forces have firmly and bravely stood their ground in repulsing militant and terrorist attacks. The international community has reiterated its commitment of support to Afghanistan in the areas of security and economic development up to 2020. The Government and people of Pakistan stand in complete solidarity with the elected government and people of Afghanistan in furthering the objective of peace, stability and development in Afghanistan. We would do whatever we can to help achieve this objective," he said. Aziz, however, pointed out that the peace process for talks between the Afghan government and Taliban has not yet produced positive results through the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) framework. "Pakistan has been making serious efforts for facilitating the peace talks through the QCG. We believe that all members of the QCG should continue their respective efforts for talks between Afghan Government and Taliban. In our view, there is no military solution to the Afghan conflict and all our efforts should be to achieve a politically negotiated settlement through an Afghan-led Afghan-owned process," he said. Aziz also highlighted the importance of regional cooperation in ensuring political stability and expressed disappointment over the postponement of the SAARC Summit after India and other Asian member refused to participate. "Regional cooperation plays an important role in ensuring political stability and promoting and deepening mutually beneficial economic interaction. In this context, SAARC is an important forum, not only for promoting regional cooperation but also for the improvement of relations. The postponement of the SAARC Summit scheduled in Islamabad was a setback to these efforts and undermined the spirit of regional cooperation," he said. Aziz said that Pakistan is committed to enhancing facilitation for transit of Afghan goods through Pakistan under the Afghanistan Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA). "We believe the two sides need to work together for extension of and improvements in the Afghanistan Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA). In this context, let me emphasize that peaceful resolution of outstanding disputes will further improve prospects of regional cooperation and connectivity," he said. (ANI)