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Prime Minister Vows Zero Tolerance for Cross-Border Terrorism

Shehbaz Sharif urges neighboring countries to work with Pakistan to devise joint plan to eradicate terrorism

by Staff Report

File photo of P.M. Shehbaz Sharif

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday vowed the government will “under no circumstances” tolerate any cross-border terrorism, emphasizing the safety of Pakistan’s borders is a “red line.”

Last week, the Hafiz Gul Bahadur Group claimed responsibility for an attack on a military checkpost in Mir Ali, North Waziristan that martyred seven soldiers, including two officers. In response, on Monday morning, Pakistan struck alleged terrorist hideouts in Afghanistan’s Khost and Paktika provinces, with Kabul claiming the airstrikes killed eight people.

Retaliating against the airstrikes, Afghan forces used heavy weapons, including mortars, to target troops across the border in Kurram and North Waziristan. However, the situation appeared to de-escalating on Tuesday, with no reports of any further clashes.

“We will not tolerate any terrorism from across the border. Under no circumstances,” said P.M. Sharif while addressing the first meeting of the Apex Committee since the new government’s formation. Calling for prayers for the martyrs of the North Waziristan attack, he recalled that Pakistan had lost thousands to terrorism. “Unfortunately, again, terrorism has reared its head,” he lamented. “The reality is that despite such great sacrifices and resources expended, our martyrs and warriors are risking their lives to eliminate terrorism,” he said.

Referring to a recent visit to the family of one of the martyrs of the North Waziristan attack—23-year-old Capt. Ahmed Badar—he said the soldier’s father had urged him to eradicate terrorism. “I also told him that we cannot tolerate this terrorism anymore. Pakistan’s borders are a red line against terrorism,” he said. “We want to exist in a very peaceful environment with our neighbors—do trade, commerce and expand our relations—but unfortunately, if a neighbor’s land is used for terrorism, this is intolerable,” he stressed.

The prime minister urged the “neighboring countries” to work with Pakistan to devise a plan against terrorism “with sincerity of purpose work towards eradicating it,” adding he hoped the “neighboring country”—a reference to Afghanistan—would consider his proposal.

Sharif also discussed the state of the economy in his speech, reiterating the need to get rid of debt, as loans and debt were proving harmful to Pakistan. Regretting that Pakistan needed a new International Monetary Fund (IMF) program, he said new loans should be restricted for essential needs and additional funding should be avoided for any other initiatives.

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