Drone Strike against the Afghan Peace Process: Sartaj Aziz

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Drone Strike against the Afghan Peace Process: Sartaj Aziz

ISLAMABAD: (APP) Drone Strike against the Afghan Peace Process: Sartaj Aziz

 

Sartaj Aziz emphasized that the drone strike had "damaged"  the Afghan peace process.

 

He clarified that Pakistani leadership was not taken onboard before the drone attack and mentioned that "Secretary John Kerry notified the Army Chief after three-and-a-half hours and the  Prime Minister at 10:30 pm".

 

He dismissed the impression that a few Taliban persons  were a hurdle to negotiations, and mentioned a statement by  Interior Ministry that indicators were strong with a hope that  they would come to negotiation table with passage of time.

 

On a question whether the U.S. had resumed its policy of  drone strikes in Pakistan, he said the government after taking  office in 2013, had successfully convinced the U.S. for halting such attacks.

 

He said though the number of drone strikes had reduced  in recent years, however Pakistan was concerned over the two  attacks in a year.

 

This is not only a violation of the understanding, but  would also affect the Pak-U.S. relations, he said.

 

When asked if Pakistan would raise voice against drone  attacks at international fora other than issuing a statement  of condemnation, Sartaj said Pakistan would also highlight  the issue in briefings to foreign envoys.

 

He said Pakistan would continue to pursue the objective  in close consultation with Afghanistan Government and other  members of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG).

 

On fate of QCG following the drone strike, he said it  was premature to finalize about peace process at the moment  and the situation would become clear after the collective  consultation of QCG members.

 

He said Pakistan believed that effective border  management was vital for checking the infiltrations across  long and porous Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

 

To a question about lack of information about the cross-border movement of Mullah Mansour, he said the reason  was the travelling of Taliban leader on fake identity.

 

He recalled that SOPs (Standing Operating Procedures)  had been finalized with Afghanistan in 2012 on border management  and termed as imperative the Afghan government's cooperation  in this regard.

 

He also mentioned the presence of large number of Afghan refugees, which he said had become a "big security risk as the terrorists and militants use the camps as hideouts for their nefarious activities".

 

The Advisor said the international community needed to  take effective measures on an urgent basis for the repatriation  of Afghan refugees.

 

"Pakistan's desire for a lasting peace in Afghanistan  is motivated by our conviction that peace and stability in  Afghanistan is essential not only for the people of that  country but also for the entire region," he said.