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Top Pakistan civil-military brass rejects US warning 

Islamabad, Aug 24 (IANS) Top civil-military leadership in Pakistan on Thursday rejected US allegations that it was harbouring and sheltering terrorists, and asserted that Islamabad would not allow militants to use its soil against any country.

The comments came after a meeting here of the National Security Committee, chaired by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. The meeting was attended by senior civil and military officials, including the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and service chiefs, besides the Defence, Interior, Foreign Affairs and Finance Ministers.

Inter-Services Intelligence Director General Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar and National Security Adviser Lt Gen Nasser Janjua (retd) were also in attendance, Geo News reported. 

The meeting that lasted for five hours discussed in detail the US policy review for South Asia and Afghanistan.

Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif and high-ranking military officials briefed the meeting on US President Donald Trump’s policy and future strategy for the region.

The meeting said that the entire world, including the US, was aware and had admitted to Pakistan’s struggle and achievements in the war on terror. “We had made sincere efforts to maintain peace in Afghanistan,” the meeting said.

US senators had been taken on tours of the tribal areas cleared by the security forces.

The meeting decided to take all the parties, including the friendly countries, on board at diplomatic level.

Sources said the Director General of Military Operations also briefed the meeting over the ongoing military operations along the Pakistan-Afghan border as well as the internal security situation of the country and the situation at the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir. 

The weekly press briefing of the Foreign Office was postponed until Friday in view of the National Security Committee (NSC) meeting — the Prime Minister’s second since he assumed office on August 1.

Abbasi’s first NSC meeting was held on August 16 and focused on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and “unprovoked” cross-border firing.

Abbasi on Wednesday dashed to Saudi Arabia for a day-long visit following Trump’s policy speech, and held a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. 

The NSC came after Trump chastised Pakistan for harbouring terrorists and providing safe havens to militant groups waging an insurgency against a US-backed government in Kabul.

Earlier, Asif said Washington must work with Islamabad “instead of relying on the false narrative of safe havens”. Pakistan denies harbouring militants.

Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, who was part of the NSC, on Wednesday told US Ambassador David Hale that Islamabad will continue to do what it is doing in Afghanistan out of its national interests, not to appease Washington.

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