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Raheel Sharif a well-wisher of Iran: NSA

08 April, 2017

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ISLAMABAD: National Security Adviser (NSA) Lieutenant-General (retd) Nasser Khan Janjua on Friday assured General (r) Raheel Sharif was a well-wisher of Iran and his possible role as chief of Saudi-led military coalition will not hurt Tehran's interests.

Addressing a conference, Janjua said the former army chief's decisions as head of the Saudi-led military coalition will not be against Iran or Saudi Arabia. "Sharif is not going to lead a Sunni alliance." Pakistan and Iran appear to be at odds over the possible role of the former army chief in Saudi-led counter-terrorism alliance as Tehran has voiced its concerns over Islamabad's decision to give the greenlight to Raheel to lead the multi-nation coalition. Janjua said that the perception that Pakistan is a dangerous country at the 'centre of global terrorism' is far from the reality. "The world thinks we are interfering in Afghanistan... [that] our economy is damaged... [that] we are playing a double-game regarding the Taliban... [that] Pakistan's nuclear assets are not protected," he said, adding that the true picture of Pakistan was not being presented adequately before the world. In fact, "Pakistan is a beautiful country with countless honeymoon resorts", he said.

The national security adviser said it is unfortunate that allegations had been hurled against Pakistan without ascertaining the facts. "Did Pakistan form Al Qaeda and Daesh?" he asked, using the Arabic acronym for the militant Islamic State (IS). Janjua also said Pakistan has fought for Afghanistan's existence, adding: "We have been confronting difficulties [in this regard] for the past 40 years." He said Pakistan had never played a double-game regarding militants, and said the Pakistanis had been exploited by the Taliban in the name of jihad. "[And] when Pakistan acted against the Taliban, they issued a fatwa condoning jihad against Pakistan," he said. Referring to the 'Farari' movement in Balochistan, he said this all was brainchild of those having nefarious motives. This can be overcome by boosting economic activity in the province.

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