Pakistan will never act proxy in any US war: Khawaja Asif

Islamabad: Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif has vowef that Pakistan will not act as a proxy in any US-led war, adding that no enemy can harm Muslims if they do not become facilitators of the enemy

Foreign Minister expressed these views  on Friday while giving a policy statement in the National Assembly,that Pakistan would not serve as a proxy for the United States in  any war.

The foreign minister said people of Afghanistan and other Muslim countries often wanted Pakistan to take part in the wars fought within their borders. “However Pakistan will not act as a proxy in any US-led war,” he said.

Mr Asif was responding to a calling-attention notice of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman who wanted to know why Pakistan had not voted against the war in Syria during a debate in the UN Human Rights Committee. Mr Rehman said that of the eight Muslim countries in the committee three Muslim states did not cast their votes, including Pakistan.

The minister said that lack of harmony and unity among the Muslim countries was the main reason behind the various problems they were facing. “No enemy can harm Muslims if they do not become facilitators of the enemy.” He said everyone knew who had taken the militant Islamic State group from Iraq to Afghanistan. The next target of the militant group could very well be Pakistan. “Pakistan has always remained a target of others because people of all warring Muslim states look towards Pakistan and its armed forces for help,” he said.

In the past Pakistani rulers compromised the country’s sovereignty only to protect their own rule and interests, and fought a “fake jihad” for the defence of the US, said Mr Asif. “That was one of the biggest mistakes that we have committed. “Pakistan fought a made-in-America jihad against Russia in Afghanistan. We committed the same mistake after 9/11,” he said.

The minister claimed that despite pressures and temptations the present government did not become part of any war being fought in a Muslim country, adding that Pakistani troops were sent to Saudi Arabia only for training purposes and not to take part in Yemeni war.

Terming the Syrian conflict a “fight for power”, Mr Asif said that although he did not support dictatorship “at least human lives were safe under dictators”. He claimed that Iraq, Libya and other Middle Eastern countries had been destabilised under a conspiracy against the ummah.  He discussed various crises in the Middle East and without naming the US appeared to hold the superpower responsible for unrest in the region.

“Despite presence of the US with all its military might in Afghanistan, the production of heroin has increased there from 200 tonnes to 9,000 tonnes and Taliban are operating in 43 per cent of the country; yet they [the US] blame us for facilitating the Haqqani network,” he remarked.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Dr Shireen Mazari said it had become difficult for the country to support any of the sides fighting in Syria. “Which side will you support in the Syrian war — Syrian government, the US, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia or Turkey?” she asked. She also urged the Muslim countries to forge unity in order to defeat the agenda of the West and protect their people.

Meanwhile, in a written reply to a question, Khawaja Asif said the role of the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP)is crucial to ensure peace and tranquillity. He said Pakistan has always extended full cooperation to the UNMOGIP and Foreign Office had taken steps to highlight the gravity of the situation. The minister said that heavy weapons, including mortars, are being frequently used by the Indian forces, on the civilian population on the Pakistani side of the LoC and the Working Boundary, resulting in a number of casualties and damage to properties.

The Minister said these are violations of the 2003 ceasefire arrangement and since the beginning of 2018, the Indian occupation forces carried out over 400 ceasefire violations along the LoC and the Working Boundary, resulting in martyrdom of 18 innocent Pakistani civilians and injuries to 68 to date.

 

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