National Security Adviser Dr Moeed Yusuf said Pakistan wants peace in the region, particularly, lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan which should be a priority of all stakeholders and key partners.
The NSA, in his interview with CNN on Thursday, said instead of waiting for a security and humanitarian crisis to arise, the global powers should work with Afghanistan to prevent it.
Dr Moeed said that enemies of the country will not be allowed to destabilize Pakistan. We will not compromise on the integrity and sovereignty of our country.
The NSA said that the world should establish contacts with the Taliban for lasting peace and ability of Afghanistan.
By leaving Afghanistan alone, the mistakes of the 1990s should not be repeated, he underscored.
During the interview, Yusuf was asked about the recent meeting between Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Inter-Services Intelligence Director General Lt Gen Faiz Hameed in Islamabad.
The NSA said the CIA director was here to discuss the situation in Afghanistan and such consultations would continue.
He added that the threat of terrorism following recent developments in Afghanistan was also discussed during the meeting — an issue that Pakistan had raised multiple times.
Dr Moeed maintained that Pakistan was facing problems due to instability in Afghanistan. Since 9/11, Pakistan has borne the brunt with more than 80,000 casualties and more than $150 billion in economic losses, while 3.5 million people have been displaced due to the terrorist insurgency, he noted.
Dr. Moeed Yusuf said, “We are committed to peace in Afghanistan and will continue to work for peace and stability, but only under the international legal framework,” he said.
He said, “For us, the integrity and sovereignty of Pakistan is paramount and there will be no compromise on it.”
“Let’s engage the reality in Afghanistan. Let’s incentivise good behaviour, and by doing that, get to a governance model that provides for the average Afghan, and there is no need for a security vacuum because the country would be stable.”
Replying to a question, he said that the former government of Afghanistan had been trying to lay the blame of its weaknesses and failures on Pakistan.
India is involved in negative propaganda against Pakistan. The video of the plane which is being propagated in the Indian media is the video of the flight of the American plane in the UK, he told the media person to her question.
Specifically answering allegations regarding Pakistan helping the Taliban with drones in Panjshir, the NSA held up a paper showing screenshots of Indian news channels, which he said had been spreading fake news about Pakistan.
Pointing to an image on the paper, he said: “This is mainstream Indian media showing an American jet flying over Wales in the United Kingdom and presenting it as Pakistan doing something in Panjshir.”
He went on to say that India had spent millions of dollars in “creating a fake news network [against Pakistan]”.
The image Yusuf was showing was shared by some Twitter users, who claimed it to be a Pakistan Air Force jet shot down by resistance forces in Panjshir. But a fact check by Dawn.com and independent journalists showed the picture was actually from 2018 in the United States.
Anderson also questioned Yusuf on Pakistan’s involvement in the formation of the new Taliban government, referring to the ISI chief’s recent visit to the country.
At that, Yusuf asked, “Why did the CIA director go to Afghanistan much before my ISI chief went there?”
Yusuf also pointed out that other countries had sought Pakistan’s help for evacuation from Afghanistan and cooperation was needed on that front as well.
He further added that Pakistan is providing all possible assistance to the international community in the evacuation operation.
He said the Taliban had assured the world that Afghanistan’s territory would not be allowed to be used against any country.
Dubbing the reports of Islamabad’s involvement a conspiracy theory, he said there was no logic to them, as the ISI chief was interviewed by the media during that visit and that defied that he was on a “secret mission”.
“Pakistan has the right to defend its national security,” he said, adding that it would continue to do so by engaging in Afghanistan.
He further said the world needed to move beyond these conspiracy theories and cooperate to benefit the common Afghan man.
Yusuf then denied Islamabad’s involvement in the formation of the new government in Afghanistan, saying that it was a sovereign country.
Dr Moeed said Pakistan was committed to securing its borders due to instability in Afghanistan and preventing terrorists from entering its territory.
He said that Afghans and Pakistanis are brothers and their relationship spans over centuries.
To a question about the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan gaining some ground following the developments in Afghanistan, Yusuf acknowledged that there was a security threat from them and it was one of the reasons the ISI chief visited Afghanistan.
He said Pakistan’s stance was that Afghan soil should not be used for terrorist activities.
As Anderson steered the conversation again to Afghans protesting Pakistan’s involvement in their country, Yusuf said “minds have been poisoned there for over 20 years”.
With a video of a protest playing on the screen, he reiterated that Pakistan was made a scapegoat by previous Afghan leaders, particularly referring to former Afghan president Ashraf Ghani’s claim that Islamabad had planned to send 10,000 t0 15,000 terrorists across the border.
“Are we mad that 10-15,000 people are crossing from Pakistan and nobody notices?” Yusuf remarked.
The NSA also said that demonstrations were not held at as large a scale as had been reported.
He said there had been a “fabrication of reality” and Afghans and Pakistanis shared relations that went back centuries.
The NSA maintained that the reports were blown out of proportion and Pakistan would continue to work with Afghanistan to ensure security in the region.
with additional input from APP
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