Pak rejects BRICS declaration:Dastgir

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No safe havens of terrorists in country
Sophia Siddiqui

Islamabad

Minister for Defence Khurram Dastgir said on Tuesday Pakistan has no ‘safe haven’ for terrorists on its soil, as he rejected the declaration naming terrorist groups in the region by leaders of member countries at the BRICS Summit in China on Monday.
“We reject the declaration [released by member countries] at the BRICS Summit,” he said during a meeting of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Defence on Tuesday.
“40% of Afghanistan is a safe haven for terrorists,” he said later while talking to the media.
“Pakistan has taken action against all groups on its soil and only the remnants of some are left,” he added.
Citing a report by the US Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction, Dastagir said of the 407 Afghan districts, only 57% are under their control.
“The foreign minister will consult regional partners and then proceed to the US,” he said when asked of Pakistan’s plan following US President Donald Trump’s recent ‘anti-Pakistan’ comments.
This will result in better engagement as we want to resolve all matters peacefully since any American action in Pakistan will cause instability, he added.
In response to a question, the defence minister said strict surveillance is being conducted of Pakistan’s ground, aerial and naval borders, adding that the country faces no danger of foreign aggression.
On the humanitarian crisis facing Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, Dastgir said the issue is being reviewed and a policy will soon be announced on the matter.
“Most of Haqqani Network terrorists are killed in Afghanistan, and most of the [terrorist] attacks in Pakistan are traced back to Afghanistan. This is the proof that Afghanistan is the safe haven of terrorists,” he said.
Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan said that
Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif will visit China, Russia, Turkey and Iran this week.
He said that Khawaja Asif will leave for Washington after his visit of these four countries.
Meanwhile, the minister spoke at a meeting of the Defence Standing Committee, ruling out possibility of any threat of foreign aggression.
He said Pakistan’s ground, aerial borders and maritime boundaries are being strictly protected.
Meanwhile, Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria on Tuesday said that Pakistan is “seriously concerned” about the threat posed by terrorism and extremism in the South Asian region. Zakaria was speaking in reference to the BRICS’ leaders summit document which named militant groups allegedly based in Pakistan as a regional security concern.
“Many terrorist groups based in the region — including in Afghanistan — such as the [banned] Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan and its associates like Jamaatul Ahrar have been responsible for extreme acts of violence against Pakistani people,” Zakaria said.
“We are deeply concerned at the presence of [banned] groups, like Daesh, East Turkestan Islamic Movement and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, in the ungoverned spaces in Afghanistan as they pose a threat to peace and security in the region.”
Zakaria further said that Pakistan is concerned about the rise of extremist ideologies and intolerance in the region, which have been “encouraging social stratification and systematic targeting of minorities”.

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