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ISLAMABAD: The Prime Minister Office said on Wednesday that the media had reported PM Imran Khan’s statement in Tehran out of context and that he meant to say that foreign intelligence agencies-inspired terrorists used Pakistani soil.

A statement issued by the PM Office in response to the opposition’s criticism of Mr Khan’s remarks said: “There has been a lot of debate about prime minister’s statement on use of Pakistan soil. The statement has been largely taken out of context.”

The prime minister had at a joint press conference with the Iranian president talked about Pakistan suffering from terrorism and eventually successfully defeating the menace, the political consensus (in Pakistan) on eliminating terrorism, government’s move to dismantle militant groups, last week’s Ormara incident, and terrorist attacks against Iran. The phrasing of the statement provided a chance to the opposition parties to launch attacks against Mr Khan.

“Prime Minister Imran Khan was talking about non-state actors using Pakistani soil under foreign influence to carry out activities in Pakistan or coordinating from Pakistan, case in point is Kulbushn Jadev / alike and local facilitators,” the statement further clarified.

It said Pakistan was also “attacked using soil of Iran and Afghanistan”. The same, it maintained, was clearly stated by the prime minister during his visit to Iran while referring to the latest incident in Balochistan. “That is why the prime minister is making all out efforts for peace across whole region,” it added.

“Prime minister’s statement being linked to any other context is an effort to misinterpret the expression which doesn’t serve Pakistan in any way,” the statement maintained.

Published in Dawn, April 25th, 2019