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Pakistan welcomes banning TTP splinter group

August 05, 2016

ISLAMABAD: While welcoming Washington’s decision to designate Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA), a splinter group of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), on a list of global terrorists, Pakistan did not offer public criticism of Pentagon’s decision to withhold $300m in military aid, with Islamabad saying that despite this, it will continue its fight against terrorism and ensure that areas cleared by the security forces do not slide back into the control of terrorist networks.

“Pakistan has long pleaded concrete action against the TTP and their likes, who operate in Afghanistan, and they have planned and launched a number of attacks in Pakistan while operating from there,” the Foreign Office Spokesman told the weekly media briefing on Thursday.

The US sees the JuA as a terror group involved in acts of terrorism and posing a significant risk of committing further acts of terrorism, at a time when in Pakistan militant groups banned locally or internationally within weeks re-emerge with a new name and continue with their activities.

The US blames JuA for the killing of two Pakistani employees of the US Consulate in Peshawar in March, and the deadly attack in Lahore which saw dozens killed.To a query on Pentagon withholding funding to Pakistan in its quest to fight terrorism, the spokesman emphasised that Pakistan does not distinguish between good or bad terrorists, decisive action against terrorists and extremists has been taken. “Our sincerity and resolve is unquestionable and acknowledged in the West including elements of the US government,” he pointed out.

Pentagon’s blackmailing tactics continue despite the fact that 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 underway, including projects undertaken in partnership with the US, for restoration of normal life in affected areas.

“Over the past decade Pakistan has conducted a large number of military operations that have sequentially dismantled and destroyed terrorist infrastructure on its side on the international border with Afghanistan. The latest of these major operations known as ‘Operation Zarb-e-Azb’ has been a resounding success and it has cleared North Waziristan — the last bastion of militant networks — from terrorists of all affiliations. This decade-long effort in Pakistan has caused 60,000 fatalities including 6,000 security forces personnel involved in the operations”.

Pentagon’s complaint has been that Pakistan offers sanctuaries to the Afghan Haqqani Network which then carry out terrorist attacks inside Afghanistan while sparing any Pakistani targets.

“Coalition Support Fund is one of the many cooperative arrangements between Pakistan and the United States to pursue common objectives. These reimbursements enable the United States to support Pakistan’s ongoing counter-terrorism efforts in a manner that serves shared interests of both countries. Under this arrangement, both countries continue to work closely to build on the gains achieved over the past years that have improved security in the tribal areas,” added the spokesman.

As Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday tasked his envoys in important world capitals to impress upon world communities  that Jammu and Kashmir is not an integral part of India, the spokesman said that Pakistan remains steadfast in extending moral, diplomatic and political support to the Kashmiris in their movement for self-determination and have strongly taken up the blatant violation of human rights and atrocities in the IOK with the international community.

“A number of countries and international organisations have expressed concerns and human rights activists have peacefully demonstrated to protest the Indian atrocities against Kashmiris. Our Missions abroad are constantly engaged in sensitising the world on Kashmir issue,” he said.

Despite good relations with countries in the region like Pakistan and India, Saudi Arabia without any warning has thrown out thousands of Asian workers on the streets even denying them their salaries. When this issue was pointed out, the spokesperson said, “We have taken all measures and are constantly in contact with the Saudi government, the companies and the employers. To a great extent the crisis is over,” the spokesman said in response to a query.

He blamed the media for being irresponsible and showing footage out of context. “It compelled me to give a comprehensive comment on the matter to PTV and other news channels. A video of the efforts that were carried out was also circulated; it was not the intention to flaunt the actions on camera as this is a humanitarian cause,” he said.

“Furthermore, we have provided rations to one of the largest camps where most of the Pakistanis are situated. We were given the assurance by the companies that rations would resume. Consequentially, when the supply was halted, we took it in our own hands and we continue to provide 200 Riyals to each one of them along with the food supply,” explained the spokesman.