Intelligence sharing sought with Iran

Published October 11, 2014
Tasnim Aslam. — File photo
Tasnim Aslam. — File photo

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan wants an intelligence-sharing mechanism with Iran to combat terrorism in areas along the border and remove mistrust between the two countries.

“It is in the interest of both the countries to share intelligence,” Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam said at a press briefing here on Friday while answering a question about steps being taken by the government to secure the border in the wake of a reported allegation by the Iranian police chief that terrorists had safe havens in Pakistan.

Iranian police chief Brig Gen Esmail Ahmadi Moqaddam, while condemning the death of his four officers in a recent attack by terrorist groups in Saravan, near the Pakistan border, had reportedly said it was not acceptable to see Pakistan being used by terrorists as a “safe haven”.

Ms Aslam said the incident had taken place near the border, but inside Iran and the terrorists were on the Iranian soil. “I do not share the view that the miscreants who create problems inside Iran have safe havens inside Pakistan,” she said.

“The border between Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan, because of the circumstances and the events in the region, has seen undesirable activities,” she said. “This is something on which we need to work together. We have several mechanisms like the border management committee which meets quiet frequently or as and when required. These issues of better border management should be taken to that committee. They would not be resolved through public statements,” she added.

US drone strikes

About the recent drone strikes by the United States, she said: “We condemn drone strikes for violation of our territorial integrity and collateral damage. We have done detailed briefings about how we are proceeding on this issue and how far we have succeeded in building international public opinion and a legal body of opinion on this issue.”

Indian aggression

Commenting on a reported statement of the Indian Border Security Force chief that “the only way to bring Pakistan to the negotiating table is intense fire”, the spokesperson said: “Pakistan is a sovereign and a strong country. By firing on the LoC or by escalating the situation on the LoC, Pakistan cannot be brought to the negotiating table.”

In fact, she said, Pakistan had done all it could to promote peace and for resumption of the dialogue process with India. She said it was India which had cancelled the scheduled foreign secretary level talks in August. “This argument, therefore, makes no sense,” she said.

Replying to a question, she said: “I don’t think any motives can be ascribed to Pakistan. We are simply responding to a situation that has been created on the LoC and the Working Boundary. We did not start the violation of the ceasefire, we have not escalated the situation and our response has been strong but measured. You may keep in mind that on the other side of the LoC, there are Kashmiris who are our own brothers and sisters. They are our own people. So, we are exercising great care to avoid civilian casualties to the extent possible.”

She said Pakistan’s reaction to the border violations had been “timely”.

“We issued a statement and in that statement we clearly stated that we have lodged a protest with India through diplomatic channels,” she said.

Published in Dawn, October 11th , 2014

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