Pakistan deserves appreciation for fighting against terrorism, not accusations: Ahsan Iqbal


Muscat, Jan 17 (TNS): Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal has called US President Donald Trump’s remarks on terrorism as unfair. Trump had accused Pakistan of giving safe havens to terrorists.

Iqbal who is currently visiting Oman, told Muscat Daily that Pakistan has made innumerable sacrifices in its fight against terrorism and for the peace and stability in the region.

“We have lost close to 70,000 people and the cost to our economy has been more than US$12bn. “Therefore no other country can tell Pakistan we have been harbouring terrorists because we are fighting terrorists and we have successfully cleaned our country of these elements in the last four years through military and security operations.

“As a result, there is 90 per cent drop in terrorism related incidents in Pakistan,” he said. Iqbal said peace and normalcy has been restored in the country due to all-round efforts. “Therefore, President Tru-mp’s remarks are unfair and do not take into account that terrorism that we are facing in this region is a legacy of the US war against Soviet Union in Afghanistan.

“These militants were trained by Western agencies to fight the Soviets. After the Soviets withdrew, they left these militants without giving any support for ‘de-weaponising’ and ‘de-radicalising’them. ” He said that Pakistan is today living with 3.5mn Afghan refugees of Soviet war. “No one has given Pakistan a single dollar to support these refugees of West war against Soviet Union.

“Today, if two dozen Syrian refugees go to Europe or America ‘hell breaks’ or ‘sky falls’. But we have hosted more than 3mn refugees for more than three decades. Therefore, Pakistan deserves appreciation and understanding, not accusations,” Iqbal clarified. In order to bring stability in Afghanistan, both the US and Pakistan need to collaborate because without our support, it is not possible to get stability in the region, he said.

“Pakistan has the biggest stake in stability of Afghanistan. We have an open border with Afghanistan which has been a source of destabilisation for our country.  “Therefore, we are committed to work with the international community to bring about normalcy in Afghanistan so that Afghan refugees can go back to Afghanistan,” Iqbal said.

“Mr Trump should facilitate these 3mn refugees so that they can go back to Afghanistan. “Because with 3mn refugees living in Pakistan, you can never be 100 per cent sure who is living among their settlements. “If he wants to be 100 per cent sure that there are no miscreants living on the Pakistan side, he [Trump] must help us repatriate the 3mn refugees,” Iqbal added.