Defence minister rejects Afghan President’s allegations

Islamabad—Minister for Defence Khawaja Muhammad Asif Monday rejected the recent allegations levelled by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani about presence of the Quetta Shura’s offices in Pakistan. He said Pakistan has been hosting around four million Afghan refugees for more than three decades.
“Afghan refugees are a big challenge for Pakistan, and the menace of terrorism cannot be overcome without making the Pakistan-Afghan border secure,” he expressed these views in the Senate Standing Committee on Defence. The committee meeting, chaired by Mushahid Hussain Syed, was attended by senators Ilyas Ahmad Bilour, Hidayat Ullah, Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi, Lt Gen (Retd) Salahuddin Tirmizi, Lt Gen (Retd) Abdul Qayyum, Muhammad Javed Abbasi, Farhatullah Babar and Sehar Kamran, Brig (Retd) John Kenneth William, Minister for Defence Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Secretary Defence and Additional Secretary.
The minister said the government was effectively pursuing the management of all crossing points at border and “we will not abandon it.” He said it would be difficult to control the menace of terrorism without effective border management. He underlined the need for early repatriation of Afghan refugees for improved law and order and peace in Pakistan.
Khawaja Asif said the financial assistance, which was being spent on the Afghan refugees in Pakistan by UNHCR, should be utilized for their settlement in the home country. He said Pakistan had taken the decision for the border management and was pursuing it in letter and spirit.
Later, talking to journalists, Khwaja Asif said the ongoing visit of National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Nasir Janjua to Iran had a great significance. Answering a question, he said Pakistan was effectively highlighting the plight of people of occupied Kashmir, massive human rights’ violations and brutality of Indian forces at every internatioanl fora.—APP

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