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India, Afghan asked to clear their position on Hagel

Last Updated: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - 22:07

Islamabad: Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik Wednesday asked India and Afghanistan to make their positions clear on the alleged remarks by Chuck Hagel, the newly appointed US Defence Secretary, that New Delhi has over the years "financed problems" for Islamabad in the war-torn country.
Hagel, during a speech in 2011 said, "India for some time has always used Afghanistan as a second front, and India has over the years financed problems for Pakistan on that side of the border".
Malik told reporters here that he had asked Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and Indian authorities to clear their positions on the matter.

The minister said Pakistan was a friend of Afghanistan which has always supported and raised voice at all fora in favour of Afghanistan.

"I ask Afghanistan to clear its position that it is not involved in any terrorist activity. We have done the best on our part. I hope proper clarification would be issued, otherwise I would demand apology from both India and Afghanistan," he added.

He said Pakistan has decided to control illegal crossing of Pak-Afghan border from next month, adding nobody without legal documents would be allowed to cross the border from March 8.

Pakistan and Afghanistan have over 2000 kilometres porous border and both countries routinely complain against each other of failure to check illegal cross-border movement.

"Afghanistan did not cooperate to check illegal crossing of the border despite repeated requests from Pakistan. Now we have decided to pursue a strict check to control smuggling and drug trafficking from across the border," he said.

The Interior Minister said Pakistan and Iran have agreed to set up four check posts two each on Pakistani and Iranian side of the Pak-Iran border at Taftan.

Iranian Interior Minister would visit Pakistan soon to finalise modalities in this regard, he said, adding duty free trade zones would also be established near the check posts.

To a question about dialogue with the Taliban, the minister said that Taliban should bring forward reasonable people for the talks.

He said the backbone of the Taliban had been broken and they had been weakened, adding that whenever they are weak then offer talks.

"We had offered the Taliban dialogue on different occasions but these offers were rejected," he said, adding the Taliban can move forward in an appropriate manner by appointing reasonable persons for talks.


First Published: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - 22:06

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