——- Urges Interim Afghan govt to take ‘solid practical steps’ against TTP
——- Adds TTP ‘creating a lot of bad blood between the two countries’
——- Asks Afghan authorities to fulfill commitments made to Pakistan
New York: Caretaker Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani on Thursday urged the interim Afghan government to take “solid practical steps” against the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), saying it was “creating a lot of bad blood between the two countries”.
Speaking to International Media on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Jilani said it was unfortunate that attacks inside Pakistan continued to emanate from Afghanistan as he urged the Afghan authorities to fulfil commitments made to Pakistan and other countries.
“They are committed to not allowing Afghan soil to be used against other countries,” he said, adding that the TTP attacks taking place in Pakistan emanating from Afghanistan “remains a major concern for us”.
The FM added that the matter was a dilemma for Pakistan as it would like to see Afghanistan as a stable and prosperous country, “but then the presence of a large number of terrorist groups whether it’s TTP or ISIS-K and other organisations which are based in Afghanistan”. “They are a major concern not only for Pakistan but other regional countries as well.”
He said the government has a dialogue with the Taliban rulers in Afghanistan and Kabul was told that “they have to fulfil the commitments that they have made to Pakistan as well as the international community whereby they are committed to not allow Afghan soil against other countries”.
The foreign minister said that the economy was linked to everything, including the prosperity of the people and a stable political environment. He expressed hope that the steps taken by the government would lead to economic and political stability.
“And the kind of reforms being introduced by Pakistan in different sectors is also something that offers a promising future for the people of Pakistan,” FM Jilani continued.
He said rising fuel prices had created inflationary pressure within the country and that in his opinion no government could do anything about it.
“But at the same time, people do realise that the fuel price is also linked to international gas prices. Obviously, when world gas prices come down that benefit will obviously be passed on to the people.”
Interim FM Jilani boasted about the “tremendous and close cooperation” of Gulf states including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Qatar with Pakistan in economic, defence, and political related matters apart from people-to-people contact as well.
“We have recently announced a new initiative. It’s the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC). The main purpose is to attract investments from the world to Pakistan,” he said.
“It’s like facilitating the investors and this is the kind of initiative taken by the government and the GCC countries that you mentioned have shown a lot of interest in Pakistan under the SIFC.”
The minister said there were five major areas of investment that were being talked about including agriculture which had a lot of interest among Gulf states, the IT sector in which many investments were expected, and also the mine and minerals area.
“As a matter of fact, we have already received expressions of interest from GCC countries about investment in energy, mines, and minerals. We are sitting on the seventh largest reservoir of shale gas in Pakistan which is again something.”
Terming the investment climate bright, FM Jilani said they were expecting representatives of Gulf countries to visit Pakistan this month from Saudi Arabia, UAE, and others.
“A number of MOUs are likely to be signed. From that point of view, the situation looks extremely good. It’s certainly going to be a great partnership between Pakistan and GCC countries.”
He said the kind of environment that was being created in Pakistan revolved around a lot of focus being given to good governance, ending smuggling and corruption within the country.
“So I think the situation looks very good. As far as fund managers are concerned because a lot of these investors are looking at Pakistan and the SIFC, I think probably there will be a very conducive atmosphere for all those stakeholders.”
Interim FM Jilani called for the war to be settled through peaceful negotiations, adding that Pakistan’s position on the crisis was very clear.
“That’s something we have always advocated. With regard to this specific conflict which has been going on for almost two years. This is something that has created nervousness in almost every country. In terms of the economic crisis being faced by many countries in terms of fuel shortages, food shortages, etc.”
The caretaker foreign minister concluded that UN reforms have been on the agenda for a very long time.
“Our position remains constant, consistent, there should be a criteria-based approach according to which this membership should be enlarged and it should be through a democratic process,” he said.
India violating resolutions
He made it clear that the emergence of an elite member of the UNSC would not be tolerated as “India has violated most of the UNSC resolutions including the one on Kashmir which is a long-standing issue on the UNSC agenda”.
“We would like the implementation of those UNSC resolutions calling for the holding of a fair and free plebiscite and that is something that has not taken place.
“And Kashmir as you are aware has been turned into a prison for the last several years. Massive human rights violations are taking place. That is something that we would expect the world community to take notice of.”
To explain the caretaker government in Pakistan, Jilani said that the country had a democratic process in which an interim government was installed after the parliament’s term ended, as required by the constitution.
“Our main task is to hold free and fair elections and that is something that will take place when the Election Commission of Pakistan announces the date for polls,” he said.