ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday put up a strong defence of its counter-terrorism credentials saying it is the ‘most effective bulwark’ against terrorism in the region.
The reaction from the Foreign Office spokesperson here at the weekly news briefing was in response to recent developments including Trump Administration’s move to block military reimbursements on the pretext of Pakistan not doing enough against certain militant outfits.
Nafees Zakaria clarified that blocked money was not aid but reimbursement of what Pakistan had actually spent in counter-terrorism operations.
“Pakistan has been fighting its war against terrorism and carried out Operations Zarb-e-Azb, Raddul Fasaad and Operation Khyber-IV under a comprehensive Counter-Terrorism (CT) strategy and the National Action Plan. Pakistan and its people have suffered immensely due to terrorism, both in terms of human and financial losses. Besides these costs, we incur huge expenditure on counter-terrorism operations,” he explained.
He then went on to add that cooperation with the United States forms part of Pakistan’s overall counter-terrorism drive.
Current criticism aside in the Capitol Hill, Zakaria pointed out that US legislators had been visiting Pakistan and had acknowledged the enormous success achieved by Pakistan in fighting back the terrorists indiscriminately.
“Pakistan’s counter-terrorism drive is against all terrorist outfits. We are firmly resolved to eradicating terrorism from our soil at all costs,” he said.
The US move came as the Trump administration is all set to announce its strategy for South Asian region.
Despite blockade of military reimbursement, senior US military officials made it clear that Pakistan’s support was key to achieving success in Afghanistan.
He strongly rejected the recent remarks by Afghan Ambassador to US that young Pakistani Army officers were being radicalised.
“Remarks attributed to the Afghan ambassador at Aspen forum by the media are part of a malicious campaign against Pakistan,” he said.
“Facts on ground belie such claims! In reality, since 9/11 Pakistan military has proven to be the most effective bulwark against terrorism in the region,” Zakria stressed.
He said members from all ranks in the military, from three stars and below, had made the ultimate sacrifice.
“In over 6,000 martyrs, Pakistan has lost more security forces’ personnel in fighting violent extremism than its international partners across the border,” he pointed out.
He said making devious claims against Pakistan military’s commitment to fight terrorism was to trivialise its tremendous human sacrifices.
“It is also disrespectful to the families of martyrs and to the people of Pakistan and such outlandish statements are beyond the dignity of responsible offices. Continuing this negative rhetoric is itself a factor in regional instability as it weakens international partnership against terrorism.”
The spokesperson said India, unable to deter the indigenous movement for self-determination in IoK, spearheaded by Kashmiri youth, resorted to tactics of harassing relatives of the Hurriyat leaders and meting out inhuman treatment to the Kashmiri leaders.
“We have been sensitising the international community as well as the UN and other relevant quarters on the grave human rights situation in IoK and unending bloodshed of Kashmiris by Indian occupation forces.”
On the video going viral on social media of an Indian Muslim man being brutally lynched by 11 Hindus armed with swords in PM Modi’s home state in Maharashtra, the spokesperson said it was a very disturbing and gruesome episode in which an unprotected Muslim had been dragged into the streets in India and brutally murdered with swords by Hindu extremists.
“Daily lynching of Muslims, Christians, Dalits, etc. in public by cow vigilantes and Hindutva proponents are manifestations of rising extremism, religious intolerance and bigotry in India, which are a cause of international concern,” Zakaria said.
“International human rights organisations including Amnesty and Human Rights Watch have amply reported on this. Regrettably, situation for the religious minorities and vulnerable segments of their society is worsening with each passing day.”
He said international community remained deeply concerned how minorities had been terrorised by the proponents of Hindutva (RSS affiliates) within India as well.
“In the overall context of terrorism in this region, there are hard and undeniable facts, which clearly identify the state actors of our eastern neighbor, perpetrating and financing terrorism and using their own and other countries’ soil against Pakistan.”