Pakistan questions US intentions of promoting India as regional power

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Pakistan questions US intentions of promoting India as regional power

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan rejects US  unfounded accusations that belie facts on ground and trivialise Pakistan’s efforts for fighting terrorism and our unmatched sacrifices to promote peace and stability in the region,” a statement said.

Reflecting continued strains in ties between the two countries, the statement insisted that Pakistan had long been at the forefront of the fight against regional and global terrorism. “It is because of Pakistan’s cooperation with the international community, acknowledged and appreciated by the US leadership, that the al-Qaeda core was decimated from the region.”

Hitting back at the US, the Foreign Office said that in a troubled neighbourhood, Pakistan continued to suffer at the hands of state-sponsored terrorism, funded and abetted by its neighbours through proxies. “These proxies, consisting of individuals, organisations and intelligence agencies, are working against Pakistan at the behest of regional adversaries,” it said.

Although the new US strategy called for greater strategic partnership with India, Pakistan pointed out that the self-proclaimed guarantors of peace and phony regional powers were pursuing this nefarious game of expansionism to the detriment of regional and global peace.

“Destabilising policies and actions by some countries to maintain their hegemony in pursuit of absolute power are responsible for instability in several parts of the world, including ours,” it said.

Questioning the US logic of giving greater role to India, the Foreign Office reminded Washington that countries emerged as regional or global powers on the basis of their constructive contributions. “It does not fall upon one country to bestow such status on any state,” it added.

In a clear reference to India, the Foreign Office said ironically, a country with a record of defiance of the United National Security Council (UNSC) resolutions, introduction of nuclear weapons in South Asia and the use of terrorism as a state policy was being projected as a regional leader.

“South Asia’s strategic stability is being undermined by India’s unchecked brutalisation of the people of Indian-occupied Kashmir and incessant ceasefire violations targeting innocent civilians,” the Foreign Office said.

Levelling a counter-charge, the Foreign Office said the Afghan soil, despite substantial US presence, was being constantly used by elements hostile to Pakistan’s stability. “Pakistan’s efforts and sincere proposals for effective border management to prevent cross-border movement of militants and return of Afghan refugees are yet to make any headway. On the other hand, a malicious campaign is under way to undo Pakistan’s achievements in the war against terrorism.”

It also stressed that Pakistan had consistently emphasised that a political settlement, owned and led by Afghans, was the only viable option to end the conflict in Afghanistan.

Further substantiating Pakistan’s credentials in the fight against terrorism, the statement said that in the recent years, Pakistan’s security forces had undertaken indiscriminate and effective counter-terrorism operations against terrorism and extremism.

“Thanks to these comprehensive operations, today, Pakistan is a more stable, peaceful and secure country. The success against the menace of terrorism, however, has come at a tremendous cost of blood and treasure, courageously braced by the people of Pakistan.”

However, it also acknowledged that the fight against terrorism was not yet over. “Mindful of the fact that the war against terrorism is not yet over, Pakistan remains committed to continuing its fight against the sympathisers, financiers and abettors of terrorism to ensure that Pakistan’s soil is not used for committing violence anywhere,” the statement said.

“We expect the same commitment from our neighbours and other regional and global actors,” it said. “Pakistan is a country of over 200 million people with strong and robust democratic institutions and highly professional and committed security forces. We also remain committed to protecting our sovereignty, territorial integrity and national interest determined by the people of Pakistan.”

Responding to apparent concerns over Pakistan’s nuclear programme, the Foreign Office said as a responsible nuclear state, Pakistan had put in place, a highly efficient, robust and centralised command and control mechanism to secure its nuclear assets. “The safety and security standards of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal are second to no other nuclear state.”