PM Abbasi rejects US accusations of safe havens in Pakistan

PM Abbasi rejects US accusations of safe havens in Pakistan

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has rejected US accusations of Pakistan providing sanctuary to militant groups, stressing that attacks in the region were originating from Afghanistan.

In an interview with Bloomberg, the prime minister said Pakistan would act against terrorists including the Haqqani network within its borders.

“We have asked them to share any intelligence about the Haqqani network, we will take action,” Abbasi said. “The attacks, however, are being made from across the border, we have pinpointed even the sanctuaries of the attackers. Cross-border infiltration from Afghanistan is the order of the day,” Prime Minister Abbasi told Bloomberg.

The Pakistani military and civilian leadership have denied the presence of terrorist safe havens on its soil on numerous occasions.

“There are no organised bases of any terrorist organisations in the country anymore,” said the spokesperson for the Pakistan Army earlier in October.

Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif had also conveyed the same message to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during his recent visit to Washington.

When asked about the release of Jammat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, the prime minister replied: “The court, a three-judge bench, has released him saying there are no charges against him, the country has a law you know. Prosecute him internationally if there is substance to these charges — these are accusations only. No evidence has been provided by India.”

Last week, the White House said there would be repercussions for US-Pakistan relations unless Islamabad took action to detain and charge newly freed Hafiz Saeed, accused of masterminding a 2008 assault in Mumbai, India.

“If Pakistan does not take action to lawfully detain Saeed and charge him for his crimes, its inaction will have repercussions for bilateral relations and for Pakistan’s global reputation,” the White House said in a statement.

Saeed has repeatedly denied involvement in the Mumbai attacks in which 10 gunmen attacked targets in India’s largest city. The violence brought nuclear-armed neighbours Pakistan and India to the brink of war.

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