- Asif welcomes China’s role in finding a peaceful settlement in Afghanistan
- Says Zarb-e-Azb vastly outperformed international forces’ operations in Afghanistan over the last 13 years
Defense Minister Khwaja Asif on Sunday called for regional peace and stability while welcoming China’s role in finding a peaceful settlement in Afghanistan.
“It is only through peace and stability that the real benefits from projects like China-Pakistan Economic Corridor can usher in an era of development and prosperity,” he said.
Addressing Xiangshan Forum’s plenary session on the topic “Regional Terrorism: Roots and solutions” in Beijing, Asif emphasized the need for addressing basic concerns of the people of the region and to deny space to extremist elements who take advantage of the fault lines existing in their respective societies.
There exists “a need to introduce a counter narrative along with a comprehensive social, economic and political reforms package in line with the culture, traditions and aspirations of the populace”, the defence minister said, according to a press release from the Pakistani embassy.
The minister condemned all acts of terrorism and called on the world community to recognize the basic reasons responsible for the fissures and fault lines existing within regions affected by terrorism.
Asif also mentioned the unresolved conflicts of Palestine and Kashmir, the unending events of gross human rights violations and unfulfilled promises by the world community failing to address the root causes of these conflicts.
He said that Pakistan gave refuge to over three million Afghani brothers during the Afghan war. The continued instability in that country had severe impacts, he said. In addition, Pakistan had suffered a loss of 60 thousand lives and billions of dollars, he added.
He said that Pakistan’s armed forces had conducted various operations in tribal areas since 2003 and the latest operation Zarb-e-Azb had vastly outperformed international forces’ operations in Afghanistan over the last 13 years.
The world needs to recognize the sacrifices made by Pakistan over the past three decades, he said.
Referring to South Asian security and stability, he said that all disputes needed to be resolved amicably to offset chances of escalation.
“While Pakistan has been forcefully advocating resumption of dialogue process with India, there was a need to reduce tensions by avoiding escalation of hostilities at the Line of Control and the Working Boundary,” the minister underscored.
In addition to defense ministers, the forum was also attended by senior military officials from participating countries, as well as noted scholars and academics.