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Pakistan has no intention of talks with banned TTP, Affirms FO spokesperson

The Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson for Pakistan has expressed deep concern over the presence of various terrorist groups operating within Afghanistan, labeling it as a significant threat to bilateral relations. In an interview, Mumtaz Zahra Baloch emphasized Pakistan’s stance of refusing any dialogue with banned outfits.

Addressing Pakistan’s demand for action against terrorist entities within Afghanistan, Baloch highlighted Afghanistan’s assurances to take necessary measures against such groups. She stressed the importance of Afghanistan fulfilling its promises in order to address the escalating tensions between the two nations, which she deemed imperative for resolution.

Baloch’s interview coincided with a tragic suicide attack in Bisham tehsil of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Shangla district, resulting in the deaths of five Chinese nationals and a Pakistani citizen. With the KP province sharing a border with Afghanistan, Pakistan has consistently urged the Afghan government to prevent its territory from being utilized as a base for terrorist activities.

According to Baloch, Pakistan has provided Kabul with substantial evidence regarding terrorist organizations, including those led by Gul Bahadur and anti-Pakistan elements within the interim Afghan government. She strongly condemned the recent terrorist attack and reiterated Pakistan’s commitment, alongside China, to combat terrorism comprehensively.

Regarding the upcoming visit of the commerce secretary to Afghanistan, Baloch mentioned that discussions would encompass various issues such as transit trade and concerns regarding customs procedures. She emphasized that terrorism remains a major obstacle to transit trade and stressed the need for a conducive environment for commerce to flourish.

Baloch clarified Pakistan’s stance on dialogue with the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban, affirming that such discussions were not part of Pakistan’s agenda with Afghanistan. Additionally, she refuted claims of Pakistan forcing Afghan immigrants to leave, stating that the majority departed voluntarily.

Furthermore, Baloch addressed Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar’s statement regarding the potential resumption of trade with India, noting that while proposals from the business community are considered, no decision would be made until the restoration of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir’s status. She reiterated Pakistan’s position that dialogue with India hinges upon the reversal of changes made to Kashmir’s constitutional status.

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