August 31, 2023
ISLAMABAD – Interim Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani said on Wednesday that the Afghan government had arrested some perpetrators of terror attacks in Pakistan and informed the authorities in Islamabad.
Jilani shared this in response to a question about cross-border terrorism while speaking to reporters at the Foreign Office.
The minister’s statement comes as Pakistan continues to face terror incidents — which have been on the rise since the banned militant group Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) ended a ceasefire agreement in November last year — and against the backdrop of growing concerns regarding cross-border terrorism by elements based in Afghanistan.
Pakistan’s military leadership and former prime minister Shehbaz Sharif, whose tenure ended earlier this month, both raised concerns over the availability of “safe havens” and “liberty of action” available to militants in Afghanistan, saying there was also involvement of Afghan citizens in terror attacks in Pakistan. They had also urged Kabul for action.
In the initial response to these allegations, Taliban spokesperson in Qatar Suhail Shaheen had told Dawn that Kabul was committed not to allow anyone to use the soil of Afghanistan against any other country.
But in a separate interview with BBC Pashto, another spokesperson for the Islamic Emirate, Zabiullah Mujahid, took a harsher line — ostensibly in a bid to play to the Afghan galleries — advising Pakistan to resolve its internal problems itself, instead of pointing fingers at others.
More recently, Afghanistan’s supreme leader had warned Taliban members against carrying out attacks abroad. But merely days later, the Afghan authorities had alleged that dozens of banned Islamic State (IS) militants from Pakistan were killed or captured in Afghanistan in the past year.
Earlier this month, a Dawn report quoted an official from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) as saying that Islamabad and Kabul were in contact with each other to address the issue of militancy.
“There is a state-to-state contact [between Pakistan and Afghanistan] to work out a solution [to escape of militants to Afghanistan]. Very serious negotiations are underway,” additional inspector-general and head of the CTD’s KP chapter Shaukat Abbas had told reporters.
Meanwhile, a United Nations report said the TTP and other groups affiliated with the Taliban and Al Qaeda were providing Nato-calibre weapons to the militant IS group and continue to pose a serious threat in conflict zones and neighbouring countries.
‘Not a political setup’
Regarding elections, Jalil said the caretaker government’s responsibility was to ensure free and fair polls. “But holding the elections is the election commission’s job, not of the interim government,” he added.
He further asserted that the caretaker government’s tenure was for a short period.
“This is a non-political setup and we will not get involved in politics. As an interim setup, we will operate within our jurisdiction,” he said.
Jilani further said the caretaker government would not become a part of “power politics on the international level”.
On the ODI World Cup to be held in India, he expressed the hope that New Dehli would provide complete security to the Pakistani team.
He further said any talks with India would be held keeping in view Pakistan’s principled position and stressed that a resolution to the Kashmir issue should be in line with the expectations of the people of the valley and UN resolutions.