Pak­istan calls for anti-ter­ror ef­forts

In­te­rior min­is­ter pledges to pro­tect CPEC devel­op­ment

Global Times - - Front Page - By Lu Wen’ao

Pak­istani In­te­rior Min­is­ter Ah­san Iqbal said Thurs­day that re­gional co­op­er­a­tion is needed to counter ter­ror­ism, as Pak­istan seeks to build a sta­ble en­vi­ron­ment for devel­op­ment.

“All coun­tries have to work to­gether to pro­mote sta­bil­ity and peace in the re­gion,” Iqbal said dur­ing an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view with the Global Times. “If one part of the re­gion is in­se­cure, it has the po­ten­tial to desta­bi­lize the whole re­gion.”

Pak­istan has of­ten come un­der fire from the Western me­dia as a “root of ter­ror­ism,” but it is also a vic­tim rather than the one to blame.

“Our re­gion paid a heavy price for ter­ror­ism af­ter 9/11 with the US in­va­sion in Afghanistan, and the whole re­gion be­came in­sta­ble,” he said.

He noted af­ter the Pak­istani govern­ment launched ma­jor op­er­a­tions against those who at­tacked the Pe­shawar school and the no­to­ri­ous Red Mosque, Pak­istan has al­most bro­ken the back of the ter­ror­ist groups.

Iqbal also called for a po­lit­i­cal so­lu­tion to the sit­u­a­tion in Afghanistan, as the US-led mil­i­tary so­lu­tion has not worked in more than a decade.

“We have to en­gage all the re­gional coun­tries be­cause neigh­bors of Afghanistan have the big­gest stake in its sta­bil­ity,” he said. “Afghanistan isn’t more sta­ble than be­fore 2001. We are still fac­ing the threat from in­fil­tra­tion from Afghanistan to Pak­istan through the western bor­der.”

Pak­istan has suf­fered heav­ily due to ter­ror­ism, which has caused the deaths of some 70,000 peo­ple in Pak­istan, and more than $100 bil­lion in eco­nomic losses, Iqbal said.

Un­der the China-Pak­istan Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor ini­tia­tive (CPEC), thou­sands of Chi­nese work­ers are liv­ing in Pak­istan, and Iqbal la­beled them as “na­tional he­roes.”

“They are work­ing in Pak­istan to help Pak­istan de­velop, they are our na­tional he­roes,” said Iqbal, who is also the Min­is­ter for Plan­ning, Devel­op­ment and Re­forms.

“It is our duty to pro­vide them best se­cu­rity with all our means.”

He noted that Pak­istan has raised the num­bers of spe­cial forces to about 15,000 per­son­nel now work­ing full time to pro­vide se­cu­rity to CPEC projects, and to Chi­nese who are work­ing in Pak­istan.

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