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September 5, 2012

Afghanistan must match Pak action to counter cross-border attacks

Lahore

September 5, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan expressed its disappointment over ‘unilateral military actions’ on its soil, arguing that while it was restricting space for militants from crossing over, what was drastically needed was a ‘matching effort’ on the Afghanistan side of the border to dramatically improve chances for collective success to fight militancy and terrorism.
“To support reconciliation and dialogue, Pakistan has tried to ensure an environment that restricts the space for those who would seek to ambush efforts for peace. Pakistan has deployed close to 150,000 troops and established over 900 check posts along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. A matching effort on the Afghanistan side of the border would dramatically improve our chances for collective success in this endeavour,” Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said while addressing the German Council on Foreign Relations, on her first official visit to Germany.
Both countries will launch a Roadmap for Pakistan-Germany Strategic Dialogue during her visit.
“Instead of coordinated and collective action, Pakistan and its citizens often have to suffer from unilateral military actions. These actions are inconsistent with international law, and they complicate the situation on the ground. We cannot afford to keep our eyes on short term goals. We must have a strategic long term vision and devise our action plans accordingly,” Khar said. As militants strike at will killing thousands of Pakistanis, Khar said the people of Pakistan are sick and tired of this. “We are sick and tired of volatility and violence that effects our every day life, our ability to pursue our long term goals and aspirations, and most importantly the challenge it presents to the hope of a better, prosperous future. As government representatives we feel an urgent responsibility to deliver our people from this volatility and violence,” she added.
In her address Khar, while pointing out that Afghanistan was the most important pillar in its policy of regional approach, said India was also a vital neighbour.
On the eve of her deliberations with her Indian counterpart in Islamabad this week, Khar said, “History will bear witness to the level of effort exerted by this government to normalise Pakistan-India relationship. As a democratic government, we have taken bold and unprecedented decisions. Granting the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status by Pakistan to India has injected a new momentum into the Pakistan-India normalisation process. This process should create a better relationship. And we believe that a better and deeper relationship will eventually lead us to ways and means to resolve all bilateral disputes, including the most important of all, the status of Jammu and Kashmir.”
She stressed that the Kashmiri right to self-determination was an agreed principle of international politics for over fifty years. “There is only one eventual resolution to the problem and it is clearly articulated by the UN Security Council. We believe that a greater depth to the Pakistan-India relationship will help lead us to the resolution,” she added.
Later the foreign minister met Germany’s Parliamentary State Secretary for Economic Cooperation and Development, Gurdun Kopp, German Minister for Defence Thomas de Maizière, and Vice Chairman Foreign Relations Committee of the German Parliament Hans-Ulrich Klose.
Khar thanked Germany for its support for enhanced market access for Pakistani goods into EU markets. She said that the challenge of terrorism could be best addressed by creating more jobs and economic opportunities for the youth, which constituted 60 per cent of Pakistan’s population. This could be made possible through increased export opportunities. Kopp assured the Foreign Minister of Germany’s continued support for Autonomous Trade Preferences (ATP) package as well as GSP plus status for Pakistani products entering EU Markets.
Germany is Pakistan’s largest trading partner in Europe and the fifth largest source of investment in Pakistan.