May 17, 2018 (DESPARDES/PKONWEB) — Pakistan is the one country in the region that has done the most against terrorism, and no country can accuse Pakistan of not doing enough against terrorism and extremism, Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Pakistan’s outgoing ambassador to the U.S., told VOA.
“Al-Qaida, if you don’t hear about it today, it is because Pakistan and the U.S. were cooperating. Al-Qaida is the organization that caused 9/11, and therefore we think that no country can tell us that Pakistan has not done enough. In fact, Pakistan has done the most,” Chaudhry said.
Chaudhry responded on Trump’s allegation last year that Pakistan gives safe haven to the terrorists the U.S. hunt in Afghanistan. “The allegations that there are safe havens in Pakistan or that the leadership of the Afghan Taliban is based there are myths,” he said.
“It is a myth to say that there are any Shuras in Pakistan, Karachi Shura, Quetta Shura and all these things,” Chaudhry said. “We’ve said time and again that there are no safe havens in Pakistan. Forty-four percent of the territory of Afghanistan is available, according to U.S. reports, and 70 percent, according to a BBC report, is available to militants of that huge country.”
Also, “Pakistan is squeezing space on Haqqanis and the Taliban. Our message to them is very clear, ‘you’re Afghans and you should give up violence and go to Afghanistan to join the political mainstream,’” Chaudhry said.
“But to hold Pakistan responsible for a lack of success in Afghanistan is not a fair treatment,” he added.
The U.S. says militants reportedly are using Pakistan’s tribal region for training purposes and planning attacks across the border in Afghanistan against U.S. and Afghan forces.
Chaudhry asserted that following several military operations, the region has been cleared of militants.
“Violence and terrorism under any pretext is not acceptable. That’s where our military forces moved into the tribal areas, especially North Waziristan where these people had created hideouts, safe havens, IED [improvised explosive devices] factories, training camps and whatever else, and two, three years later, we were able to clean up the whole place and secure every inch of that territory,” he said.
The outgoing ambassador is upbeat about US-Pakistan relations, he told VOA.
Pakistan’s relations with the U.S. have deteriorated in recent years, and just recently, relations between the two countries plummeted to a new low when Washington issued a directive requiring Pakistani diplomats to seek permission five days in advance before traveling more than 40 kilometers outside their posts in the U.S.
In retaliation, Pakistan reciprocated with its own restrictions on U.S. diplomats.
Nonetheless, Chaudhry seems optimistic about relations between the two nations.
“The point that I’m making is – it’s a resilient relationship and if it is passing through a bad patch today, it will come right back to normal just like it has come back in the past,” he said.