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February 17, 2018

UK helps Pakistan improve border management with Afghanistan

National

February 17, 2018

ISLAMABAD: In an important development, the United Kingdom (UK) has thrown its weight behind Pakistan’s efforts to improve border management with Afghanistan through an ambitious fencing effort aimed at stemming the cross border movement of the militants.

Responding to the queries by The News about the UK’s position on fencing of border, the spokesperson for the British High Commission urged both Pakistan and Afghanistan to work together to improve border management.

“We encourage Pakistan and Afghanistan to work together to improve border security, modernise border management, and to encourage bilateral trade. Honest dialogue and cooperation is the best way to achieve this,” the spokesperson said.

In an order to stop cross border movement of terrorists, Pakistan military last year started fencing the porous border with Afghanistan and the country hopes that over 90 percent of its 2,611-kilometer border will be fenced by end of this year.

Afghanistan however opposes the fencing project because it historically disputed the colonial-era demarcation drawn up by the Great Britain in 1893. Pakistan insists that the project is critical for national security and for promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan.

“We continue to encourage the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan to work together to stem the flow of militants from either side of their border. There must be an end to safe havens for militants,” the spokesperson said.

To another question about the recent US decision to stop Pakistan's military assistance, the spokesperson said the UK acknowledges the significant sacrifices made by Pakistan over the years in the fight against terrorism.

“The UK and Pakistan have a shared interest in the battle against terrorism. We are committed to working together to combat the terrorist threat and the extremism that sustains it. “

However the spokesman added that the UK “regularly highlights to Pakistan, at the highest level, the importance of taking effective action against all terrorist groups operating in Pakistan, as Pakistan has committed to do.”

On Pakistan’s growing ties with China especially after the initiation of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the British High Commission Spokesperson said that his government supports initiatives to increase regional connectivity in South Asia including CPEC. “CPEC presents huge opportunities for Pakistan and the wider region, bringing economic development, greater connectivity and regional security,” he added.

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