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Trump’s first foreign policy statement: Pakistan rejects allegations

ISLAMABAD -UNS- Pakistan on Tuesday categorically rejected the allegations levelled in the Trump administration’s first foreign policy announced a day earlier, saying they “trivialise” its counterterrorism efforts and sacrifices to promote peace in the region.

In an official response to Trump’s new national security strategy, which presses on Pakistan to intensify its action against militant groups it alleges are operating from Pakistani soil, the Foreign Office (FO) said the “unsubstantiated” and “unfounded” allegations are contrary to ground realities and reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to its counterterrorism efforts.

“Pakistan rejects such unfounded accusations that belie facts on ground and trivialise Pakistan’s efforts for fighting terrorism,” said a statement issued by FO spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal.

Pakistan has been at the forefront in the fight against terrorism and its cooperation resulted in the core of Al Qaeda being “decimated” from the region, the FO statement said.

The FO claimed that the Afghan soil is being used by hostile elements against Pakistan despite substantial US presence, and “Pakistan continues to suffer at the hands of state-sponsored terrorism, funded and abetted by our neighbours through proxies”.

It said Pakistan’s proposals for effective border management to prevent cross-border movement of militants and return of Afghan refugees have not made any headway so far.

“On the other hand, a malicious campaign is underway to undo Pakistan’s achievements in the war against terrorism.”

“Indiscriminate” counterterrorism and counter-extremism operations by Pakistani security forces have brought peace and stability to Pakistan, FO said, adding that the gains against terrorism have come “at a tremendous cost of blood and treasure”.

It emphasised that Pakistan remains committed to continue the fight against sympathisers and abettors of terrorism to ensure that its soil is not used for carrying out violence anywhere.

“We expect the same commitment from our neighbours and other regional and global actors,” it said.

The FO reiterated Pakistan’s stance that a solution to the Afghan conflict lies in political settlement owned and led by the Afghans.

The FO also took a swipe at the United States’ efforts to prop India as a regional power, saying countries should be given such statuses on the basis of their “constructive contributions”.

“Ironically, a country with a record of defiance of UNSC [United Nations Security Council] resolutions, introduction of nuclear weapons in South Asia and use of terrorism as a state policy is being projected as a regional leader,” the FO statement said.

It said violence committed by India in held Kashmir and ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) targeting civilians are undermining strategic stability in South Asia.

It stressed that Pakistan has put in place a highly efficient, robust and centralised command and control mechanism to secure its nuclear arsenal.

The country remains “committed to protect our sovereignty, territorial integrity and national interest determined by the people of Pakistan”, the FO said.

The Trump administration’s first foreign policy — announced on Monday — urges Pakistan to demonstrate that it’s a “responsible steward” of its nuclear assets and warns that the fear of a nuclear conflict with India remains a key concern in Washington.

The new policy also insists that Pakistan take action against militants on its soil and intensify its counterterrorism efforts if it wants to continue its partnership with the United States.

In a reference to the alleged presence of militant hideouts inside Fata, the Trump administration says: “We will insist that Pakistan take 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.”

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