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Afghan refugee camps 'safe havens' for terrorists: Aziz‏

June 21, 2016

ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Monday said that Afghan refugee camps within Pakistan turned into safe havens for terrorists after the country's armed forces destroyed the militants' infrastructure in tribal areas.

In an interview with SAMAA TV, he said the issue of Afghan refugees has become a security issue for Pakistan as these refugee camps have become "safe havens for terrorists" due to unregulated movement.

"We have re-established our writ over FATA but if Afghan border remains unregulated, our tribal areas can't stay safe."

Calling for repatriation of Afghan refugees, he said that the repatriation will be a gradual movement and Pakistan will need a plan of action for the process.

Related: Afghan govt seeks extension in stay of refugees in Pakistan

Answering a question, he said the Monday meeting between Afghan delegation and Pakistan's diplomatic staff was conducted in a friendly environment and both sides agreed upon developing a mechanism for border management.

About the recent tensions with Afghanistan, Aziz claimed that Pakistan is paying for the policies it adopted during the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, "5million refugees came here, along with drugs, guns bringing instability to Pakistan".

"Then occured 9/11 and then the Mujahideen that we, US and other countries jointly created were thrown out (from Afghanistan) into our tribal areas and then started a wave of suicide attacks and terrorism which killed more than 7000 Pakistanis," said Aziz.

He added that when the current government came into power, it decided to pursue the policy of non-interference which means Pakistan will not fight someone else's wars.

'Pakistan only hurdle to Indian hegemony in region'

Answering a question about Pakistan, India relations, he said that India has always tried to maintain its hegemony in the South Asian region.

"But Pakistan rejected this hegemony and has effectively protected its interests and its stance over Kashmir, nuclear deterrence and conventional balance," said Aziz.

He maintained that "protecting Pakistan's sovereignty and vital interests is a great achievement as a nation".

Related: India never opened window of opportunity for talks: Aziz