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Pakistan would not stop construction of a check-post at Torkham border: DG ISPR

16 June, 2016

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ISLAMABAD: Lieutenant General Asim Saleem Bajwa, director general of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), made it clear on Wednesday that Pakistan would not stop construction of a check-post at the Torkham border crossing, as it was 37 metres inside the Pakistani territory.

Talking to the media on the completion of two years of the Operation Zarb-e-Azb, Bajwa said that Afghan government’s objections to the check-post were totally unjustified. He said that ISAF and the Afghan government were informed before the operation that terrorists might flee to Afghanistan, but they did not man the border to help the Pakistan Army catch or kill the fleeing terrorists. He said that Afghanistan could not take a stand on Torkham because it was in Pakistan. He said that Pakistan would never give up construction of the check-post at Torkham because it was its right.

The ISPR director general said there was a need to resolve these issues permanently. He said that border management was still a challenge and Pakistan was focusing on it. He said the blame game should end now. He said that efforts were being made to ease the tension between the Pakistani and the Afghan forces. He said that Pakistani forces were just responding to the firing from the Afghanistan side because aggression was not acceptable. He said there were only eight official crossing points on the 2,600-kilometre long Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

To a question about handing over Angoor Adda check-post to Afghanistan, he said it was a Pakistani post inside Afghanistan territory and it was handed over to Afghanistan keeping in view the facts about it. The post was handed over to Afghanistan after consultations with the government and all other stakeholders.

Bajwa said the Operation Zarb-e-Azb had completed two years. He said the Pakistan Army was rendering sacrifices for the nation and the nation could see the results of these sacrifices. He said the security forces dismantled the networks of terrorists in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), but the job was not done yet. He said the Pakistan Army would take this fight to its logical end. He said, “We started this operation on June 15, 2014, in North Waziristan. In the first phase, we cleared 3,600-square kilometre area.”

Bajwa said that terrorists fled to Afghanistan before the operation and then they returned to Khyber Agency, as ISAF and the Afghan government did not take any action against them. As a result, he said, the Pakistan Army had to launch Operation Khyber-1 and Operation Khyber-2 against terrorists. He said the security forces cleared another 2,400-square kilometre area during these operations. He said that 900 terrorists were killed in the Khyber operation, while 108 officers and soldiers of the Pakistan Army were martyred and 385 injured.

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