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Nobody wants peace in Afghanistan more than Pakistan: Shahid Khaqan Abbasi

21 September, 2017

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Pakistan's relationship with the United States is 70 years strong and it is not defined by the conflict in Afghanistan alone, said Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi while speaking at Washington's Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) think tank on Wednesday.

Speaking during an hour-long session at CFR with David Sanger, the national security correspondent for The New York Times, Abbasi said that Pakistan intends to remain engaged and partner with the US in order to defeat terror in the region and find lasting peace in Afghanistan.

"We have engaged with the US. We continue to engage with them to resolve any differences that come up and move forward," said Abbasi, who is currently in New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly.

Once again denying President Donald Trump's assertion that Pakistan provides sanctuaries to terrorists, the prime minister said "nobody wants peace in Afghanistan more than Pakistan".

He said that Pakistan has asked Afghanistan to provide coordinates for any terrorist sanctuary that it alleges exists in Pakistan and "we will take action against that sanctuary".

Pakistan has suffered $120 billion worth of economic losses due to the "vicious" war the country has been involved in to rout the militants, said the PM, adding that the impression that Pakistan is fighting the war against terrorism with foreign resources is wrong.

"We fought the war with our own resources and we defeated the terrorists."

Answering a question about the presence of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed on political campaign posters during recently held by-election in Lahore, the prime minister said the Election Commission of Pakistan will take action against the independent candidate who used Saeed's photo during his campaign, "which is illegal to do".

Noting that the candidate had polled about four per cent of the vote, Abbasi said: "We do not condone such activity, and we will take action where it’s required."

Abbasi had met US Vice President Mike Pence on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on Tuesday afternoon, launching a process that both hoped would help rebuild ties between the two nations, once close allies in the war against terror.

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