US urges Pakistan to shut down access to terrorists


Washington—The United States (US) State Department on Wednesday urged Pakistan to “shut down access to areas inside their borders to terrorists”.
State Department Spokesperson John Kirby in a press briefing, when asked to comment on recent remarks by Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed on Pakistan, responded by saying, “I’m not going to dignify the comments of an avowed terrorist one way or the other.”
He added, “We continue to work with Pakistan and continue to urge Pakistan to take steps to shut down access to areas inside their borders to terrorists, to terrorist individuals and to terrorist groups.”
The US has previously also asked Pakistan to take action against militancy.
Earlier, during a State Department briefing in August, deputy spokesperson Mark Toner said, “We’ve been very clear with the highest levels of the government of Pakistan that they must target all militant groups, and that includes those that target Pakistan’s neighbours, and they must also close all safe havens.”
“We obviously believe that Pakistan needs to do all it can to confront all terrorists operating on its soil,” he said, adding, “We’ve seen it make progress; we want to see more progress on its part.”
PPP leader Aitzaz during a joint session of parliament last week was of the view that Pakistan was isolated because it gave freedom to non-state actors.
“The government has been completely unsuccessful in imposing restrictions on non-state actors according to the National Action Plan.”
During a meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs last week, lawmakers of the opposition and the ruling party also questioned the role of members of banned outfits in the country.
PML-N MNA Rana Mohammad Afzal admitted that he found it difficult to explain to think tanks in France about the presence of JuD chief Hafiz Saeed in Pakistan and his role vis-à-vis Kashmir.
Pointing his finger at the foreign secretary, Rana Afzal said: “I don’t know what is the contribution of Hafiz Saeed towards the promotion of the cause of Kashmir? Why has our foreign policy failed to dissociate itself from the impression of Hafiz Saeed?”.—Agencies