ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has urged the international community to help enhance its counter-terrorism capability, respect its sovereignty and keep Pak-Afghan border sacrosanct. The call was made by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi while addressing Young Leaders Round Table Conference (RTC) on Security Policy on the sidelines of security dialogue in Munich in Saturday.
He said Pakistan adopted a comprehensive multi-pronged strategy to deal with terrorism involving political dialogue, comprehensive development and the use of force where necessary. Pakistan is also addressing the root cause of terrorism in order to suppress the menace for the long term.
The Foreign Minister cautioned that the international community would not be able to control spread of terrorism to other regions until the problem is tackled by eliminating poverty and economic deprivation. He said it is extremely important that programmes for economic uplift of Afghanistan and the border areas of Pakistan be initiated at the earliest.
He said Pakistan’s position against terrorism and extremism of any kind is unflinching despite heavy cost it is paying today in terms of loss of precious civilian military lives and setback to the economy. Our message to the terrorists is loud and clear that we will not allow our territory to be used in furtherance of terrorism and we will not be daunted by their threats.
Referring to the proposed military surge in Afghanistan, he emphasized that there should be equal emphasis on a political and developmental surge. He pointed out that with a military surge in Afghanistan there would be a greater danger of the number of militants’ crossing over into Pakistan’s territory and therefore, there should be more emphasis on border control.
Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi said there is also need to bring Afghan people on one platform and for the Afghan Government to assume greater responsibilities in terms of security, development and political dialogue. The Foreign Minister informed the RTC that the belligerent Indian response to the Mumbai terrorist attacks threw the Pakistan-India peace process back to square one.
He said Pakistan wants to cooperate with New Delhi in rooting out terrorism from the region and to resolve all our differences including Kashmir disputes through dialogue. He said Pakistan has begun its own investigation of the Mumbai incident but this can only reach fruition with Indian cooperation. Unfortunately India has refused to accept Pakistan’s sincere overtures and has started a vilification campaign against Pakistan, not realizing that Mumbai was as much a blow to Pakistan as it was to India.
The Foreign Minister assured the audience that despite threat of extremism and terrorism Pakistan’s nuclear assets are under safe custody and control. Pakistan has instituted fool proof mechanisms for their control.
He also dwelt at length on Pakistan’s economic potential and said it can act as a hub linking Central and South Asia and the Middle East. It can also act as a conduit for massive energy flow from Central Asia. He said Pakistan has fifth largest coal reserves in the world and over thirty thousand megawatt of hydel potential in the run of the river projects alone.-SANA