UNSC members clear on existence of terror safe havens in Pakistan: Afghan envoyhttps://indianexpress.com/article/world/unsc-members-clear-on-existence-of-terror-safe-havens-in-pakistan-afghan-envoy-5044649/

UNSC members clear on existence of terror safe havens in Pakistan: Afghan envoy

"I have not heard any member of the council denying the existence of these (terror) safe havens in Pakistan. I have not heard any member of the council stand up and say, 'no this is not true'," Afghanistan's UN Ambassador, Mahmoud Saikal said

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Afghanistan’s UN Ambassador Mahmoud Saikal said the attempt to change the narrative, on the part of Pakistan, does not help, and added that it was time for everyone to accept that “there is something wrong”, which is hurting Pakistan itself as well as the region (Representational Image/ File)

There is a clarity among the UN Security Council members on the existence of terrorist safe havens inside Pakistan, a top Afghanistan envoy to the world body has said, calling for action against it. Afghanistan’s UN Ambassador, Mahmoud Saikal, in an indirect reference to Pakistan, said his government has provided evidences to the UNSC about violations of its resolution by “a country in the region”.

In an interview to PTI, Saikal said he has stressed the need for action against “the country”, as mandated by the UNSC resolutions. He said there is unanimity more than ever and clarity among UNSC members about the presence of terrorist safe havens in Pakistan, days after an ambassadorial-level of delegation of the 15-member powerful body returned from a trip to Kabul.

“I have not heard any member of the council denying the existence of these (terror) safe havens in Pakistan. I have not heard any member of the council stand up and say, ‘no this is not true’,” Saikal told PTI.

“But we need to go beyond that,” he said, adding, “we need to get the council consensus that ‘yes, they are there’. Once there is consensus that they (terrorists) are there (in Pakistan), then the (security) council is obliged to take action.” Noting that the issue has come to the attention of the UNSC more than ever, the ambassador said some of the council members were now openly talking about it.

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He said Pakistan has been “unsuccessfully trying to change the narrative” in the past couple of years, but there are no takers for arguments coming from Pakistan’s diplomats, either at the UN or other international forums.

“Majority of the member states know about the safe havens. They know that the leading figures of terrorist groups have lived in Pakistan. They have been found dead in Pakistan. They have been killed and buried in Pakistan,” he said.

“Osama bin Laden was found and killed in Pakistan. Mullah Omar died in a Karachi hospital. Mullah Akhtar was found and killed in Baluchistan. And right now, leading figures of the Taliban are in Pakistan. This is a public knowledge,” he claimed.

He said the attempt to change the narrative, on the part of Pakistan, does not help, and added that it was time for everyone to accept that “there is something wrong”, which is hurting Pakistan itself as well as the region.

“It is the job of all of us to work together to address it. Our intention is to see Pakistan as a trusted partner in countering terrorism, as a good neighbour who believe in coexistence with us, and could feel responsible about the security of Pakistan itself, but also the security and safety of the neighbours of Pakistan and of the region and of the world at large,” Saikal said.

To a question, the Afghan envoy expressed frustration that nothing has worked so far with Pakistan. Kabul has used bilateral, trilateral and multilateral platforms to have a breakthrough, he said.

“Unfortunately, so far we haven’t seen much. So, we will keep our eyes open for any gesture or for any initiative from Islamabad when it comes to a paradigm shift in the part of giving up the policy of using violence in pursuit of political objectives and trying to coexist with its neighbours in peace,” he said.

“Any opportunity that could be there, we would not be shy to explore it and use it and to have a meaningful dialogue with Pakistan. But at the same time if nothing works, then we have no other option but to come to the Security Council because we are paying a heavy price almost every day in Afghanistan,” he said.

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Saikal said Afghanistan has every right to defend its people, raise its voice at international platforms and seek support from relevant international bodies when it comes to improving the security and stability in the country.

“At this stage there is enough evidence before the council on the safe havens and also on violations across the Durand Line in the past few years,” he said.

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