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No terrorist havens in Pakistan, declares PM Abbasi in New York

Days after US Senate moves to put action against Lashkar as precondition for military aid, Pakistan PM seeks to defend action against Hafiz Saeed

world Updated: Sep 21, 2017 13:30 IST
Agencies, Washington
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi,Pakistan Prime Minister,Afghanistan
Pakistani prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi answers a question during a panel discussion with the Council on Foreign Relations in Manhattan, New York.(REUTERS)

Pakistan’s prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has rejected allegations that his country was not doing enough to rein in militant groups operating from its soil, saying the “perception that there are (terrorist) sanctuaries is absolutely not correct”.

Abbasi was speaking at an event in New York on Wednesday, where he also said that Pakistan will act “when it’s required” against Hafiz Saeed, the co-founder of militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba and one of the kep people behind the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

“We have taken action against him. He is in house arrest. In the recent by-election, the candidate did use his picture in an election poster, which is illegal to do, and action will be taken against him by the election commission,” he said, according to PTI.

In addition to India, Afghanistan and, more lately, the United States, have accused Pakistan of looking the other way on terrorism. Abbasi was largely addressing concerns on support to Taliban and groups that operated in Afghanistan from support based in Pakistan.

On Tuesday, the US Senate passed a first legislation to halt military aid to Islamabad if it fails to take action against Saeed’s Lashkar-e-Taiba. The law will need to be backed by a similar legislation in the US House of Representatives to come into force.

“This perception that there are (terrorist) sanctuaries is absolutely not correct. We have defeated the enemy on our own territory. We have destroyed the sanctuaries,” he said.

“And today the cross-border incursions, if they happen, are from Afghanistan into Pakistan to attack our forces,” he added.

“We have told Afghans that if there is any sanctuary that they can give us coordinates for, we will take action against that sanctuary. As far as we are concerned, today no sanctuaries exist on Pakistani soil from which any activity takes place against Afghanistan,” Abbasi said.

Asked about Saeed in Pakistan, Abbasi said he belonged to a proscribed organisation.

“We have taken action in the past and will act where it’s required. He (Saeed) has been under detention for over 2-3 years now,” the prime minister said.

Abbasi was addressing an audience at an event organised by the Council on Foreign Relations -- a top American think-tank.

First Published: Sep 21, 2017 12:57 IST