ISLAMABAD, Jan 7: Pakistan will be challenging the UN Monitoring Group’s report at a Security Council meeting later this month, it has been reliably learnt by Dawn.

Pakistan’s UN representative will formally register a protest against parts of the Monitoring Group’s latest report which suggest support from Pakistan to the anti-Karzai forces and criticizes it for taking inadequate measures along the Pakistan- Afghan border.

The third report of the Monitoring Group, which was submitted to the UN Security Council last month, raises serious questions about the Al Qaeda movement and arms smuggling along the Pakistan-Afghans border.

“We intend to counter segments of the report that point the accusing finger towards Pakistan,” well-placed sources in the ministry of foreign affairs told Dawn on Tuesday.

Pakistan will refute claims made by the Monitoring Group at a special meeting convened by the Security Council to discuss the report on Jan 24, official sources told Dawn.

Pakistan will assert its hands are clean; taking the plea that there was nothing to back up the claims and allegations made in the report, sources said.

Established by the Security Council resolution 1390 after the 9/11 terror attacks, the Monitoring Group is mandated with monitoring, reporting and making recommendations concerning the measures that the Security Council requires UN member states to take action against Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and individuals and entities associated with these groups.

The 40-page report, a copy of which is with Dawn, notes that Al Qaeda activists continue to move about freely in Pakistan and inadequate measures are in place to restrict mobility and flexibility of the ‘network’.

“They appear able to move, with relative ease within their areas of operation, e.g., Europe, Southeast Asia or between Afghanistan and Pakistan,” maintains the report.

However, government officials in Islamabad contest the claim, saying there was no evidence to substantiate these allegations. They maintain that in a very difficult situation Pakistan has taken very tough and effective measures to end crossborder traffic.

Officials add that these steps have been taken to promote Pakistan’s own internal security as well as to implement its commitment to the UN Security Council resolution 1390 as a frontline member of the international coalition formed after 9/11.

The Monitoring Group observes there are growing indications that traffickers are smuggling light weapons out of Afghanistan into neighbouring Pakistan.

“These arms are widely available to Al Qaeda and associated groups, some of whom are believed to be sheltering or sheltered in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) or certain major conurbations,” it claims.

Referring to reports emanating from the US Department of Defence indicating that some quantities of new weapons and ammunition had been discovered inside Afghanistan, the report hints at Pakistan being the source.

The submission of the report to the Security Council coincides with the Dec 29 border clash between Pakistani paramilitary troops and US forces along the Durand Line that resulted in a US bomb attack.

Informed sources do not rule out a possible linkage of the US bombing with the Monitoring Group’s report.

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