Pakistan, Afghanistan agree to remain engaged for building closer cooperation: Asif

Pakistan       by Haider Ali Sindhu | Published

Islamabad, Sep 6 Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif will visit China on Friday to review bilateral relations and garner support for his country which is facing mounting global pressure to act against the terror groups.

Chinese leaders will meet Asif and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will hold talks with him, he said.

Separately, Foreign Office (FO) Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said that Pakistan was "seriously concerned" over the threat posed by terrorism and extremism in the South Asian region.

Leaders of BRICS, an acronym for the economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa combined, on Monday expressed concerns over Pakistan-based militant groups and cited them as a problem for regional security.

The minister told that Pakistan's defence is in strong hands, and unnecessary threats are being raised after US President Donald Trump's statements against Pakistan.

Describing Asif's visit as an "important event" between the two sides which will further the cooperation consensus reached between the two country's leaders, he said it will deepen political cooperation centered on the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and promote coordination and communication on worldwide and regional affairs.

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"Many terrorist groups based in the region, including in Afghanistan, such as the TTP [Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan] and its associates like JuA [Jamaat-ul-Ahrar] have been responsible for extreme acts of violence against Pakistani people", Zakaria said in a statement.

He attempted to dilute China's role in the BRICS declaration by saying that other countries are also a part of the group.

BRICS did not eplicitly identify Pakistan by name, but Islamabad's links to certain jihadi groups are no secret to the global community, particularly India, China, and the United Nations.

"This has now become a necessity, as China and Russian Federation are looking into the matter very seriously and it's becoming evident that China might not support Pakistan the way it has done in the past", Pakistani analyst Raza Rumi told VOA.

BRICS adopted the declaration at its annual summit in Beijing, which is expected to conclude on September 5. "I don't think it is good idea", Hu Shisheng, Director of the official China Institute of Contemporary International Relations told PTI. "Still, it has set a precedent that should give Pakistan cause for worry, at the very least".

"China is also a victim of terrorism and is firmly against any kind of terrorism, and that's the main reason that the organisations are named in the declaration", Hu said. Pakistan, he said, had conducted successful operations Zarb-e-Azb and Rad-ul-Fasaad to eliminate terrorism but the world had not acknowledged the same.

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