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Friday July 19, 2024

Pakistan not in talks with TTP: FO

Responding to criticism about Afghans being told to leave as Eid approaches, she explained that Pakistan does not have a specific Afghanistan related policy

By Mariana Baabar
April 05, 2024
FO Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch speaks during her weekly press briefing in this still in Islamabad on February 1, 2024. — Facebook/Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Islamabad
FO Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch speaks during her weekly press briefing in this still in Islamabad on February 1, 2024. — Facebook/Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Islamabad

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday reiterated again that it was not holding any talks with the terrorist organisation Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and had no plans to hold talks with them in future.

“We expect the Afghan authorities to take action against these terror groups and their leadership for the crimes they are committing and terrorist attacks for which they are responsible in Pakistan,” said the spokeswoman at the Foreign Office when asked to respond to the Afghan deputy interior minister’s advice that Pakistan and TTP should resolve their issues through dialogue as the violence in Pakistan “is spreading to Afghanistan”.

Responding to criticism about Afghans being told to leave as Eid approaches, she explained that Pakistan does not have a specific Afghanistan related policy in terms of illegal foreigners in Pakistan. The spokesperson said Pakistan’s position has been that individuals who are in Pakistan illegally should return to their home country and that includes individuals from Afghanistan. “We have also seen that over the last several months, a large number of Afghans have left for their home country voluntarily while a limited number of individuals were deported. As far as any new steps regarding repatriation of Afghan nationals is concerned, at this stage, I am not in a position to announce any new measures.”

Turning to the recent terrorist attacks on Chinese in KP, the spokeswoman said that several measures are under consideration and being debated. “I’m sure the Ministry of Interior will release the relevant information at an appropriate time for the benefit of media. Pakistan is in the process of completing various aspects of investigation into the terrorist attack in Bisham and when we have complete details, we will be sharing them with the media,” she said.

However, if Pakistan like in the past finds there is a clear connection, Pakistan will surely raise this concern with the Afghan authorities. “There have been repeated incidents of terrorism inside Pakistan which have been sponsored by individuals who are currently based inside Afghanistan and we expect the Afghan authorities to take urgent, immediate action against all terror groups,” she added.

Commenting on security cooperation between the two countries that President Biden and Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif had mentioned in their letters, the spokeswoman responded, “As regards to the security cooperation, Pakistan has always said that it would like to learn from the experience of countries which have been fighting the global threat of terrorism. There are a number of areas in the security domain where Pakistan and the United States can discuss and exchange information and exchange experiences especially in fighting terrorism.”

Meanwhile, Secretary, National Security Division, Waqar Ahmad, led the Pakistan delegation at the 19th regular meeting of Secretaries of the Security Councils (SSC) of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) held in Astana, Kazakhstan, on April 3. The SSC forum discussed strategic security issues affecting the SCO member states with focus on terrorism and extremism, illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs, transnational organised crimes, international information security and misuse of internet. The situations in Afghanistan and the Middle East, particularly in Gaza, were also discussed.