Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif asks SCO to ensure Afghan soil not used for terrorism
Sharif’s remarks come two days after Pakistan and the Afghan Taliban held crucial talks in Doha to iron out differences regarding the TTP,

at 11:58 pm
Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif at the SCO

Astana/Islamabad, July 4: Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday carried the bilateral rancour with Kabul to the SCO Summit forum as he said that the interim Taliban government should ensure that Afghan soil is not used for terrorism against any state – in reference to the terror attacks in Pakistan.

Addressing the SCO Council of Heads of State Summit in Astana, Kazakhstan, he said: “The SCO member states have a shared interest in ensuring peace and stability in the region, which is a precondition for any kind of economic development.”

Sharif called upon the forum to engage with the Afghan authorities and also asked the Kabul administration to ensure its role in curbing terrorism.

Shehbaz said that achieving lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan is a lynchpin to this common objective.

“The international community must meaningfully engage with the interim Afghan government to help them meet their genuine economic and development needs,” Shehbaz said.

At the same time, he said, the Afghan government must ensure that its soil is not used for terrorism by any entity against other states.

“Recent terrorist activities have been a matter of great concern for all of us,” he added, in reference to the terror attacks in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa that Islamabad has blamed on the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) outfit. Islamabad has also maintained that the TTP acts out of Afghan soil, which the Taliban has denied.

Shehbaz Sharif said that state terrorism should be condemned unambiguously and stressed that rooting out militancy is a precondition for economic development.

“Terrorism, whether committed by individuals, groups, or states, must be fought collectively in a comprehensive fashion.”

Sharif’s remarks come two days after Pakistan and the Taliban in Afghanistan held crucial talks, the first in several months, in the Qatari capital as part of the push to iron out differences regarding the TTP, which is behind many terror attacks in Pakistan.

Relations between Pakistan and the Taliban regime in Kabul have been particularly tense due to cross-border attacks attributed to the TTP, which Pakistani security officials allege operates from Afghan territory.

Pakistan’s Ambassador to Qatar invited the Afghan Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid for dinner where they held formal talks with Ambassador Asif Durrani.

Tensions between the two sides have deepened further after Pakistan indicated it might resort to cross border strikes to target the terrorist hideouts of TTP.

In his speech today, Shehbaz Sharif said: “Terrorism, in all its forms and manifestation, including state terrorism must be condemned in clear and unambiguous terms. There can neither be any justification for the killing of innocent people nor should the bogey of terrorism be used for political point scoring.”

He also called on the summit to combat terrorism collectively and in a comprehensive fashion.