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September 30, 2017

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NSC to deliberate on US Afghan policy

NSC to deliberate on US Afghan policy

ISLAMABAD: The National Security Committee (NSC) on Friday said the US policy on Afghanistan will be deliberated upon but made it clear that Kashmir and Afghanistan were among the cardinal points of the foreign policy of Pakistan and no external pressure would be entertained in this regard.

Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif, who has just returned from New York after attending the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) summit, explained his contention regarding his statements given by him during his stay in New York. He had to face candid questions about his comments that he made during the last one week when he was in the US. The members were largely satisfied about the points of view expressed by Khawaja.

It is understood that the controversy that generated about the statement has been buried as a result of discussions in the committee on as a result of discussions in the committee on the subject.

The members of the committee eulogised the address of the prime minister that he delivered in the UNGS summit where he raised a number of issues of Pakistan’s concern in an emphatic manner including Kashmir dispute and terrorism. 

The huddle was chaired by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and it attended by federal ministers Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) Miftah Ismail, Secretary to the Prime Minister (SPM) Fawad Hasan Fawad, Foreign Secretary Ms. Tehmina Janjua, Secretary Finance and Economic Affairs Shahid Mahmood, Chairman Joint Chief of Staff Committee (CJCSC) General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javaid Bajwa, Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) Admiral Muhammad Zaka, Chief of Air Staff (CAS) Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, Director General Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) Lieutenant General Naveed Mukhtar, Director General Military Intelligence (MI) Major General Syed Asim Munir Ahmad Shah, Director General Military Operations (DGMO) Major General Sahir Shamshad Mirza and others.

Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) Admiral Muhammad Zaka appeared in the NSC for the last time since he is attaining superannuation next month. The NSC paid tribute to the contribution of Admiral Zaka to the proceedings of the committee. 

It was officially stated after the meeting that the committee expressed deep concern over repeated violations of Line of Control (LoC) by India, resulting in loss of innocent lives owing to shelling and firing. 

The committee also condemned violation of human rights in the Indian Held Kashmir and use of excessive force against unarmed civilians. The committee was informed that the prime minister, in his meeting with the UN secretary general, had handed him a dossier documenting the systematic human rights violations by India in the IHK and stressed the need for appointing a Special Envoy on Jammu & Kashmir.

The committee was briefed that the prime minister and the foreign minister had engaged the leadership of several important countries to share Pakistan’s perspective on regional and global security challenges. 

The salient aspects and outcomes of the prime minister’s visit to New York for the UN General Assembly were also shared with the committee.

The committee was also informed that the foreign minister had visited key regional countries, including China, Iran and Turkey to apprise their leadership of Pakistan’s perspective on crucial regional and international issues.

The committee was further informed that Pakistan’s continued engagement with leading world powers on matters of regional security had generated a supportive sentiment for Pakistan amongst world leaders during interactions on the sidelines of the UNGA in New York.

The committee also reviewed the current developments in the relationship with Afghanistan as well as common avenues for continued cooperation, especially border management and repatriation of refugees.

It reiterated its commitment for peace in Afghanistan through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.  The committee expressed its unwavering resolve to keep Pakistan’s defence impregnable against all forms of external aggression. 

The sources said that Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif also took the NSC into confidence about his scheduled meeting with his US counterpart Rex W Tillerson.  The minister will be leaving for Washington next week for the meeting that was postponed by him last week when it was slated in New York on the margins of the UNGA.  The committee also reviewed follow-up actions in the wake of US President’s obnoxious remarks about Pakistan during his announcement regarding South Asia and Afghan strategy, the sources added.

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