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Pakistan asks Afghanistan to hand over Terrorist Leaders

Foreign Office spokesperson says India has yet to deny veracity of evidence of its role in extraterritorial and extra-judicial killings in Pakistan

by Staff Report

File photo of Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch

Pakistan on Thursday reiterated its demand for Afghanistan to take immediate and effective action against terrorist groups sheltering on its soil, and hand over their leadership to Islamabad.

Addressing a weekly press briefing in Islamabad, Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch noted Pakistan had repeatedly raised its concerns over the terror threat emanating from Afghanistan. Earlier this week, a report submitted to the U.N. Security Council Committee by the monitoring team of the Islamic State and Al Qaeda/Taliban militant groups alleged the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) enjoys the patronage of the Taliban government and Al Qaeda, as well as the East Turkestan Islamic Movement and the Majeed Brigade.

“We have shared concrete evidence with regards to their [TTP] involvement with Afghan authorities,” said Baloch, adding the Pakistani government was “very concerned” that the TTP was being given a free hand to attack Pakistan, and sponsor terrorist activities inside the country.

To a question on remarks by acting Taliban Borders and Tribal Affairs Minister Noorullah Noori, who described the Durand Line as an “imaginary line” and contested the border between the two countries, she stressed that the Pak-Afghan border was an internationally recognized and legally valid reality. Stressing this was a non-negotiable issue, she maintained this was “never been on the agenda between Pakistan and Afghanistan and will never be.”

Responding to a query on Indian allegations of Pakistan’s involvement in terrorism, she said this was a routine matter for Delhi. She said Delhi recklessly levelled terrorism charges against others, noting it hadn’t even spared individuals supporting opposing teams in cricket matches in the past. “The reality is that India is involved in terrorist incidents inside Pakistan and it has been involved in such terrorist incidents and extra-judicial killings and extra-territorial killings in countries around the world,” she said, adding Pakistan was not alone in voicing these allegations. “These claims are now coming from other countries with frequency,” she noted.

Noting that India had yet to deny the allegations levelled by Pakistan of Delhi’s involvement in assassinations in Pakistan, she recalled the foreign secretary’s briefing had provided “credible evidence” of India’s involvement in extra-territorial and extra-judicial killings in Pakistan. She said Islamabad had shared this evidence with allied nations and other relevant countries, especially the ones whose cooperation was needed to hold to account the individuals behind the terror acts.

Baloch also voiced serious concerns on attacks targeting Muslim sites of worship in India, regretting an ongoing, concerted campaign to demolish mosques in the neighboring nations and replace them with temples. These acts, she maintained, would remain a blot on the face of Indian democracy.

The spokesperson said Pakistan would observe Kashmir Solidarity Day on Monday (Feb. 5), adding an elaborate program was devised to mark the occasion. She said Pakistan would continue to extend moral, political and diplomatic support to the Kashmiri people for the just and peaceful settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions.

To a question on the killing of nine Pakistani workers in Iran, she said both Islamabad and Tehran had condemned this inhumane act. She said Pakistan expected Iranian authorities to share details of the attack as soon as it completed investigations into the incident.

Responding to a query about whether the cipher case—in which former prime minister Imran Khan and ex-foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi were sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment each—had compromised the country’s cipher security system, she said the system was secure. “We have recently done an audit of our communication systems and we are reassured that these systems as per our recent audit are safe and protected,” she added.

Baloch also reiterated Pakistan’s call for the full implementation of the International Court of Justice’s judgment to uphold the human rights, dignity and identity of the Palestinian people as per the U.N. charter and international laws. She said the UNSC should play its mandated role to impose a ceasefire and protect the people of Gaza from ongoing atrocities.

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