Reiterating Pakistan's resolve to protect its sovereignty, territorial integrity and national interest determined by its people, Foreign Office on Tuesday rejected the "unfounded" US accusations levelled in its new security strategy and the threatening statements coming from Washington.
"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 protect our sovereignty, territorial integrity and national interest determined by the people of Pakistan," Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal stated in categorical terms while reacting sharply to the US National Security Strategy 2017 released on December 18.
He said that the US has hurled certain "unsubstantiated" allegations at Pakistan in the National Security Strategy 2017. "Pakistan rejects such unfounded accusations that belie facts on ground and trivialize Pakistan's efforts for fighting terrorism and our unmatched sacrifices to promote peace and stability in the region," he said.
Pakistan has long been at the forefront in the fight against regional and global terrorism, he asserted, adding it is because of Pakistan's cooperation with the international community, acknowledged and appreciated by the US leadership, that the al-Qaeda core leadership was decimated from the region. In a troubled neighbourhood, he stated that Pakistan continues to suffer at the hands of state-sponsored terrorism, funded and abetted by its neighbours through proxies.
"These proxies, consisting of individuals, organizations and intelligence agencies, are working against Pakistan at the behest of regional adversaries," he said, adding that the self-proclaimed guarantors of peace and phony regional powers are pursuing this nefarious game of expansionism to the detriment of regional and global peace.
He stated that the destabilizing 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 this region. "Countries emerge 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," he added.
In an obvious reference to India, the spokesperson stated, "Ironically, a country with a record of defiance of the UNSC resolutions, introduction of nuclear weapons in South Asia and use of terrorism as a state policy is being projected as a regional leader." South Asia's strategic stability is being undermined by India's unchecked brutalization of the people of Indian Occupied Kashmir and incessant ceasefire violations targeting innocent civilians, he added.
The Afghan soil, despite substantial US presence, is being constantly used by elements hostile to Pakistan's stability, he said, adding that 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," he added. He stated that Pakistan has consistently emphasized that a political settlement, owned and led by Afghans, is the only viable option to end the conflict in Afghanistan.
In recent years, he stated that Pakistan's security forces have undertaken indiscriminate and effective counterterrorism operations against terrorists and extremists. "Thanks to these comprehensive operations, today Pakistan is a more stable, peaceful and secure country," he said, adding that 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.
As a responsible nuclear state, he said that Pakistan has put in place a highly efficient, robust and centralized 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," he added.
Mindful of the fact that the war against terrorism is not yet over, he said, Pakistan remains committed to continuing its fight against the sympathizers, financiers and abettors of terrorism to ensure that Pakistan's soil is not used for committing violence anywhere. "We expect the same commitment from our neighbours and other regional and global actors," he added.
The Trump administration, in its first foreign policy, urged Pakistan to demonstrate that it is a "responsible steward" of its nuclear assets and warns that the fear of a nuclear conflict with India remains a key concern in the US. It also insisted that Pakistan must take action against militants on its soil and intensify its counterterrorism efforts if it wants to continue its partnership with the United States. "We will insist that Pakistan take a decisive action against militant and terrorist groups operating from its soil as the United States continues to face threats from transnational terrorists and militants operating from within Pakistan," it stated in reference to alleged terror 'safe havens' in the tribal areas.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2017