Pakistan rejects BRICS statement, defence minister says no terrorist safe havens in country

Khurram Dastagir rejected declaration released by member countries at 9th BRICS Summit

Mona Khan

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Defence Khurram Dastgir said on Tuesday Pakistan has no ‘safe haven’ for terrorists on its soil, as he rejected the declaration naming terrorist groups in the region by leaders of member countries at the BRICS Summit in China on Monday.

“We reject the declaration [released by member countries] at the BRICS Summit,” he said during a meeting of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Defence today.

“40% of Afghanistan is a safe haven for terrorists,” he said later while talking to the media.

"Pakistan has taken action against all groups on its soil and only the remnants of some are left," he added.  

Citing a report by the US Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction, Dastagir said of the 407 Afghan districts, only 57% are under their control. 

"The foreign minister will consult regional partners and then proceed to the US," he said when asked of Pakistan's plan following US President Donald Trump's recent 'anti-Pakistan' comments. 

This will result in better engagement as we want to resolve all matters peacefully since any American action in Pakistan will cause instability, he added.

In response to a question, the defence minister said strict surveillance is being conducted of Pakistan’s ground, aerial and naval borders, adding that the country faces no danger of foreign aggression.

On the humanitarian crisis facing Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, Dastgir said the issue is being reviewed and a policy will soon be announced on the matter.

Leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations at the 9th BRICS Summit in China on Monday.

The leaders released the Xiamen Declaration, expressing concern over the security situation in the region.

"We strongly condemn terrorist attacks resulting in death to innocent Afghan nationals....We, in this regard, express concern on the security situation in the region and violence caused by the Taliban, ISIL/DAISH, Al Qaida and its affiliates including Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Haqqani network, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, TTP and Hizb ut-Tahrir," said the declaration.

NA body condemns  Trump's hostile statements

The National Assembly Standing Committee on Defence strongly condemned the hostile and threatening statements made by US President Donald J Trump and the top US commander in Afghanistan Gen John W Nicholson.

The committee taking strong exemption to the statements adopted a condemnation resolution unanimously.

In the resolution adopted by the parliamentary body, the claim of the US president regarding Pakistan providing safe haven for terrorists was rejected.

The committee further rejected Trump's claim that billions of dollars in aid had been spent on Pakistan, stating that Pakistan'seconomy had suffered a loss of more than $123 billion in the fight against terrorism.

The body also strongly condemned the massacre of Muslims in Myanmar by the government and urged the United Nations and the international community to condemn the massacre of the Muslims and play their role in preventing atrocities against them.

- Additional input from APP