Country cleared of terror safe havens: Janjua

| Says US assures RAW, Afghan elements won’t be allowed to target Pakistan

ISLAMABAD -  Pakistan on Tuesday said India’s hegemony in the region was unacceptable and Islamabad had conveyed its concern in this regard to Washington.

Briefing a meeting of Senate’s Committee on Foreign Affairs here, Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua said Pakistan had told the United States that Indian intelligence agency – the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) - was using Afghan soil for terrorist activities in Pakistan.

“Indian hegemony in the region is unacceptable. Pakistan is an important country and has a role to play in the region,” she added.

Janjua said that there were no safe havens of terrorist groups in Pakistan and the country had cleansed its soil of terrorists.

The meeting was chaired by Nuzhat Sadiq, while members of the committee from various parties participated.

The foreign secretary said the United States had assured Pakistan that neither RAW nor any Afghan elements would be allowed to target Pakistan from across the border.

This week, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif also said the US had assured India’s role in Afghanistan was “limited” and would not undermine Pakistan.

Washington told Pakistan that India’s role was merely economic on the Afghan issue.

In October, US Acting Secretary of State for South Asia and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells said her country had specific expectations from Pakistan to “help create conditions” that would help “bring Taliban to the negotiating table.”

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was in Pakistan last month and had a joint meeting with the civil and the military leadership.

He made it clear that US President Donald Trump’s new Afghanistan policy would not be changed on the demand of Pakistan.

Tillerson emphasised India’s role for Afghanistan peace – a strategy contested by Pakistan.

Trump had earlier accused Pakistan of protecting terrorists who were threatening peace in Afghanistan.

Khawaja Asif however, said that decrease in drone attacks in the past few years showed that there were no more safe havens of terrorists in Pakistan.

Janjua said there were terrorists’ safe havens on the Afghanistan side of the border as more than 45 per cent of the area in Afghanistan was not under the control of the government.

She said Pakistan was taking effective measures for border management with Afghanistan.

Janjua said the US was ready to mediate between Pakistan and India over Kashmir issue and Pakistan had welcomed this offer.

About army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa's recent visit to Afghanistan, the foreign secretary said it was a significant visit and the meetings with Afghan civilian leadership remained positive.

To a question by a participant about anti-Pakistan posters in London, Janjua said the posters had been removed after Pakistan's protest.

The foreign secretary said Pakistan had summoned British High Commissioner Thomas Drew last week and lodged strong protest over the hate slogans.

Earlier, cabs inscribed with anti-Pakistan slogans were pictured in London and uploaded on the social media websites by the users.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Pakistani diplomat Rana Nayyar Iqbal, who was killed in Afghanistan’s Jalalabad city, was laid to rest here.

Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif among others attended the funeral prayers.

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