- Minister reaffirms Pakistan’s readiness to work with US as a partner
WASHINGTON: Minister for Interior Affairs Ahsan Iqbal has said that Pakistan rendered matchless sacrifices to wipe-out terrorism and the government and the security forces are still committed to trace and eliminate terrorism and extremism where and in which form it may be.
He stated this while addressing a gathering of academicians, analysts, students and media persons at an exclusive event organised by the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies in Washington on Wednesday and hosted by Vali Nasr, author and dean of the School.
Speaking on Pakistan’s efforts in internal and regional security, Ahsan covered a wide range of areas from counter-terrorism operations, which had resulted in a marked decline in the incidence of terrorist incidents, to Pakistan’s role in promoting regional peace and stability.
The interior minister briefed the audience about the National Action Plan (NAP), the 20-point initiative developed by the government to counter terrorism and extremism. The implementation of the plan, in conjunction with the sweeping counter-terrorism operations, had been critical to improving the security situation in Pakistan, he said.
He said that Pakistan shared the international community’s concerns about the instability in Afghanistan, which continued to spill over into Pakistan. He said that Pakistan desired peace in Afghanistan and would thus support any effort to political reconciliation in Afghanistan, which was the only viable path towards obtaining lasting peace in the region.
He said that blaming Pakistan for the security failures in Afghanistan was unhelpful as well as offensive to the people, whose sacrifices in the fight against terrorism were without parallel in the region. The government has an economic vision for the country, which is based on peace and stability paradigm, he said.
Turning briefly to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Ahsan, who is also the minister for Planning, Development and Reforms, said that CPEC was envisioned as a regional connectivity project by Pakistan and China. This initiative would not only radically overhaul Pakistan’s transport and energy infrastructure, but it would act as a catalyst for regional integration, he said.
The minister reaffirmed Pakistan’s readiness to work with the US as a partner for achieving peace and security in the region and urged that seeing the region from the prism of third country would compound the situation for anyone. Pakistan desires a broader and comprehensive partnership with the US, beyond security and particularly in the education sector, he said.