LONDON : Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif has condemned accusations that his country was supporting terrorism in Afghanistan, deeming such charges as “heinous.”
He told Arabic newspaper, Asharq Al-Awsat: “Nothing can be farther from the truth in these heinous accusations. Pakistan believes in refraining from interfering in the internal affairs of all countries, especially Afghanistan.”
“Pakistan does not allow the use of its territory for attacks against Afghanistan,” stressed the minister.
On the internal conflict in the neighboring country, he remarked: “We had long wanted a peace process that is purely led by Afghanistan.”
Pakistan is host to three million Afghans, who had fled the unrest in their country in the past three decades, he noted, adding: “We have set an example in this regard, which reflects our commitment to the Afghan people.”
“We have also paid a heavy price for the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan. Had there been peace there, Pakistan would have escaped the clutches of terrorism, extremism, drugs and illegal weapons,” stated Asif.
“It is therefore obvious to any regional observer that achieving peace, security and prosperity in Afghanistan is in Pakistan’s interest,” he declared. He reiterated that Pakistan does not allow its territory to be used against Afghanistan and “we do not want any country to use Afghan land against us.”
“We have been taking the necessary measures to that end in our land and we hope that these efforts will be reciprocated on our western borders. Pakistan has made several proposals to Afghanistan on effective border control and we hope it will be cooperative,” he told to Asharq Al-Awsat.
Asked to assess Saudi-Pakistani ties, Asif commented that the two countries “enjoy tight and fraternal ties that stem from joint religious and cultural values.”
“The Saudi leadership has a special place in the heart of Pakistanis and the Pakistani people have great appreciation for Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques” King Salman bin Abdulaziz, said the FM.
The relationship is also based on deep mutual trust, which is demonstrated in the similar stances Saudi Arabia and Pakistan take on several regional and international issues, he continued.
“Our ties are comprehensive and we are working together to improve trade relations,” he added.
Commenting on Saudi Arabia’s efforts to achieve peace and stability in the Middle East, Asif said that the Kingdom plays a “pioneering role” inside the region and beyond its borders.
“The people of Pakistan and Muslims around the word have great respect to the Kingdom. All Islamic countries look towards Saudi Arabia and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation that is based in Jeddah,” he noted.
“Pakistan appreciates and hails the efforts of the Saudi leadership in achieving peace and stability in the region. We assure to the Kingdom and its people, our complete support in this regard,” he added.
He also highlighted the role of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, for spearheading the Islamic Coalition to combat terrorism, hoping that this united platform would effectively combat the terror threat that is tarnishing the real image of Islam.
Orignally published by INP