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Indian role in Afghanistan will hamper regional stability, says Pak Parliament

Pakistan’s lawmakers said in the resolution that an expanded role for India in Afghanistan would be “highly detrimental to regional stability”.

world Updated: Aug 30, 2017 22:58 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times, Islamabad
Pakistan National Assembly,Trump's policy for Afghanistan,President Donald Trump
Khawaja Asif speaks during an interview with Reuters at his office in Islamabad March 6, 2014. REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood/Files

Pakistan’s Parliament on Wednesday rejected President Donald Trump’s criticism of the country for sheltering terrorists and condemned the US administration’s efforts to “provide more space to India in Afghanistan”.

The National Assembly or lower house of parliament unanimously passed a resolution that also rejected the assertion by Gen John W Nicholson, the top US commander in Afghanistan, that the top Afghan Taliban leadership is based in Peshawar and Quetta.

The resolution described the remarks by Trump and Nicholson as “hostile and threatening” and asked the government to consider the postponement of all official visits between the two countries. The government should also frame economic policies to deal with situations that could arise from the cutting off of US aid, it said.

While outlining his new policy for South Asia and Afghanistan on August 21, Trump had accused Pakistan of providing safe havens for terror groups and said the country must give up its approach of accepting US aid while continuing to harbour terrorists. He also called on India to play a larger role in Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office has already rejected Trump’s accusations and foreign minister Khawaja Asif put off a scheduled visit to the US in order to travel to China to lobby for support.

Asif read out the resolution adopted by the lawmakers, which said: “The National Assembly of Pakistan unanimously rejects the unacceptable targeting of Pakistan by US President Trump in his statement on 21 august 2017 on Afghanistan and South Asia.

“The National Assembly also rejects claims of General Nicholson, NATO commander in Afghanistan, regarding existence of Taliban shuras in Quetta and Peshawar.”

The resolution added, “Given India’s known support to terrorism and its destabilising policies in the region, this House condemns attempts by the Trump administration to provide more space to India in Afghanistan and considers it a move highly detrimental to regional stability, and (a) complete failure to understand existing ground realities and emerging challenges in the region.”

The resolution also condemned what it described as “repression” of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and reiterated Pakistan’s “continued diplomatic, political and moral support for their struggle for self-determination”.

The resolution rejected the “US claim of giving Pakistan billions of dollars in aid” and denounced “the complete disregard and lack of respect for Pakistan’s immense sacrifices in countering terrorism”. It said the country had sustained losses of more than $123 billion in the war against terror while 70,000 people had become victims of terrorism.

The resolution also expressed concern at the “increasing concentration of ISIS and other terrorist networks in the Afghan provinces bordering Pakistan” and demanded that Kabul should take action against alleged safe havens for Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and other terror groups.

First Published: Aug 30, 2017 18:35 IST