AS there is an increase in foreign-sponsored acts of terrorism in Pakistan, military spokesperson and Director-General, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major-General Babar Iftikhar has sensitized the international community about dangers to regional peace and security if a holistic approach was not adopted to address the menace of terrorism.
He spoke to representatives of foreign news outlets in Pakistan on a variety of national and regional issues, including Afghanistan peace talks, extremism in the former tribal areas and relations with India.
We have been emphasizing in these columns repeatedly that Pakistan has played its part well in tackling the complicated issue of extremism and terrorism as scores of initiatives were taken both in terms of physically eradicating terrorist outfits and bring about a change in the extremist mindset that breeds terrorism but some regional and other countries are not addressing the challenge in an all-encompassing manner because of their vested interests.
There is a known policy of providing sanctuaries to the terrorists who were forced to flee Pakistan in the face of non-discriminatory operation carried out by Pakistan defence forces and intelligence agencies.
Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar said that terrorists in Pakistan operate with the assistance of groups in Afghanistan and said that India is involved in supplying arms, money and new technology to the terrorists to create unrest in Pakistan and disturb regional stability.
He also hinted at the possibility of involvement of Afghan intelligence in anti-Pakistan activities being carried out from Afghan soil. As against this, Pakistan has not only carried out a successful military operation against all terrorist groups but is also engaged in a comprehensive border management programme to keep a check on illegal border crossings as well as smuggling that inflicts losses on economies of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran.
Apart from this, Pakistan always used its influence on Afghan Taliban to persuade them to come to the negotiating table and sort out issues through discussion and dialogue.
It was mainly because of the sincerity of Pakistan in this regard that first there was an agreement between the United States and the Taliban and then another one between Afghan Government and the Taliban, which are threatened by activities of spoilers of the peace process.
The military spokesperson has warned about possibility of leaving a void in Afghanistan after withdrawal of foreign troops but this should mean sincere efforts by all stakeholders to ensure success of the peace process that should result into a consensus on future political set up in that country and should, in no case, mean delaying troops withdrawal, which is at the heart of the conflict there.