Wednesday, December 21, 2022
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari termed the Bannu incident "alarming", saying that action against extremism, especially the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), should be strictly enforced.
On December 18, a hostage crisis occurred when TTP terrorists seized control of the Counter-Terrorism Department's (CTD) compound in Bannu, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The terrorists took several personnel hostages.
However, the security forces cleared the facility in a successful operation in which 25 terrorists were killed — three days after the militants overpowered security guards in the centre.
Addressing the US think tank Atlantic Council, Bilawal said that Pakistan is serious about eradicating terrorism, adding that the security situation in the country is better than it was in 2007.
Pakistan takes action against the TTP in the region and Afghanistan should do the same, stressed the foreign minister. He added that Pakistan has played a key role in establishing peace in the region.
"Action against extremists is necessary for the safety and security of the people," said Bilawal, adding that peace is indispensable for economic stability in the country.
Bilawal said that the protection of people is Pakistan's first priority. He also appreciated US' efforts for peace and stability.
Moving on to Pakistan's relations with other countries, the foreign minister said that they are making efforts to strengthen its bilateral ties. "We want better links with the US, Europe and other regions," Bilawal said.
"Pakistan and the United States can move forward together in various fields. There are opportunities for cooperation in agriculture, health and many other sectors," he added.
Shedding light on Pakistan's situation during the record monsoon rains from June to September, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader said that the country's biggest challenge is to deal with the floods, possible future environmental disasters and helping the victims.
Our focus is on dealing with the destruction caused by the flooding, said Bilawal.
The minister urged the international community to cooperate in the rehabilitation of the flood victims. "The international community must work with Pakistan against climate change as different countries have been affected by it," said Bilawal, hoping to receive funds from fellow countries at the International Conference on Climate Resilient Pakistan. He also thanked the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres's appeal for help for the flood victims.
"This conference is the beginning to deal with climate change. We are working on a strategy to deal with the future challenges," said the foreign minister.
He also expressed pleasure over Pakistan's exit from the Financial Action Task Force's (FATF) grey list.
The incumbent government is making economic reforms and solid efforts for ensuring food security in the country, he added. "The resolution of issues is only possible through serious efforts and mutual cooperation," Bilawal said.