Pakistan Thursday expressed concern over what it called ‘continued presence of safe havens’ of Pakistani Taliban militants Afghanistan’s Kunar and Nooristan provinces and urged Afghan government to eliminate their safe heavens.

 

The military says that the members of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan have fled to Afghanistan and are now operating from their and routinely launch attacks on Pakistani border posts and villages.

 

Afghan government last month arrested a senior Pakistani Taliban leader, Maulvi Faqir Mohammad eastern Ningarahar province and later rejected a request to hand over him to Pakistan on the plea that both countries do not have an extradition treaty.

 

Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesman, Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhary, said Pakistani militants are carrying out undesirable activities against Pakistan.

 

“Pakistan has taken up the matter many a times with Afghanistan at all levels and hoped that these safe havens of TTP would be eliminated,” the spokesman told weekly press briefing.

 

He said that the presence of safe havens in Afghanistan is a serious matter but Pakistan would continue to remain in cooperative mode as this is best way to defeat the evil forces.

 

Commenting on recent statements of Afghan President and deputy Foreign Minister about Pakistan’s failure to play role in Afghan peace, the spokesman said both sides have concerns and Pakistan believes that the best way to remove concerns and misunderstandings is to keep all channels of communication open.

 

“Pakistan is following a policy of goodwill towards Afghanistan and wants its reflection in Afghan policy as well,” he said.

 

The spokesman emphasized that Pakistan and Afghanistan have to work together in harmony to promote peace not only in Afghanistan but also in the whole region.

 

About the U.S. drone attacks, he said Pakistan has also conveyed its point of view to the UN Special Rapporteur during his recent visit to Islamabad who will be presenting the report at the UN Human Rights Council and may be at the UN General Assembly session.

 

About renewed interest being shown by India for joining Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, he said India has not formally approached Pakistan for the purpose and we would respond when New Delhi does so.

 

Referring to Afghan decision not to send military delegation for a training course in Quetta, he said training activities are meant to build trust and confidence between the two countries and we should not miss this opportunity. As for the excuse presented by Afghanistan for the purpose, the spokesman said there was some intrusion from Afghan side and our troops only responded and that too in a disciplined and responsible manner. He said there was no artillery shelling as alleged by the Afghan side.

 

To a question Aizaz Ahmad said Pakistan supports intra-Afghan dialogue and that is why it instantly agreed to release of prisoners and provision of safe passage to Afghan Taliban at the behest of Afghan High Peace Council.

 

Asked to comment on a statement of Indian Prime Minister about relations with Pakistan, the spokesman said Pakistan believes that good, healthy and constructive relationship is in the interest of people of the two countries and the region. He hoped that this conviction of Government of Pakistan to promote relations would be well appreciated by the other side.

 

Responding to a question about death of an Indian prisoner in Lahore he said details are being sought from the Interior Ministry and Home Department of Punjab. He said representative of Indian High Commission was present during post-mortem.

 

To a question, the spokesman said so far only European Union has approached for sending election observers to Pakistan. He said all foreign observers will have to sign on the code of conduct issued by the Election Commission. Ministry of Interior has undertaken to give them advisory and guidance on security aspects.

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