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Security forces acting against all terrorists: FO

By Our Staff Reporter 2016-08-05
ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office said on Thursday that Pakistani security forces were acting indiscriminately against terrorists and remained committed to fighting terrorism for the region`s security and stability.

`Pakistan remains committed to counter terrorism for ensuring security and stability in the region,` Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zalcaria said at his weelcly media briefing. He was responding to several questions about deduction of $300 million from Coalition Support Fund (CSF) reimbursements for Pakistan by Pentagon.

The deduction was made because Defence Secretary Ash Carter did not certify that Pakistan was adequately acting against the Haqqani network and other terrorist groups.

Under the US National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2016, the legislation that authorises the budget authority of theDepartment of Defence, US Congress had conditioned release of $350 million out of the total amount that is to be reimbursed to Pakistan in a year to a certification by the US defence secretary.

The certificate that is to be provided to Congressional defence committees requires the secretary to state that Pakistani military operations in North Waziristan are disrupting the safe haven and freedom of movement of the Haqqani network there; Pakistan has taken steps to demonstrate its commitment to prevent the Haqqani network from using North Waziristan as a safe haven; and that Pakistan government is coordinating with Afghan government to restrict the movement of militants across the border, including the Haqqani network.

`Senior members of the Congress and representatives of the media have visited the areas cleared from terrorists` control and observed for themselves the gains made in these operations as well as the development work under way, including projects undertaken in partnership with the US, for restoration of normal life in affected areas,` the FO spokesman said, referring to a recent visit led by US Senator McCain, Chairman of Senate Armed Services Committee.

Mr Zakaria further said Pakistan would continue its fight against terrorism and ensure that areas cleared by security forces do not slide back into the control of terrorist networks.He recalled sacrifices rendered by Pakistani security forces in the fight against terrorism and said: `Our sincerity and resolve is unquestionable and acknowledged in the West, including elements of the US government.

Rejecting the commonly held perception that the Haqqani network and Afghan Taliban had been spared in counterterrorism operations, the spokesman insisted that the security forces undertook `decisive action against terrorists and extremists and also cooperate widely with other countries to defeat terrorists` He further said: `It is our firm resolve that we will take action against any terrorist in Pakistan, whatever colour or shape it manifests itself in` BORDER MANAGEMENT: The spokesman rejected the Afghan foreign ministry`s assertion that the Torlcham border gate had been constructed in violation of `previous agreements, and commitments`.

`We are surprised, and also disappointed at Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs` press release a couple of days back,` Mr Zakaria said.

`The construction of gate and other facilities is not an unfriendly act ... there are no such previous agreements barring construction on our respective territories; and the gate being constructed by us is 37 metres inside Pakistan territory and does not in any way constitute an encroachment,` he clarified.