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Pakistan to tighten border for Afghan polls
| Foreign Office says dates being worked out for PM’s Iran visit
 
 
 

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan on Thursday announced to increase security along its border with Afghanistan to stop unauthorised crossings, as Islamabad wanted peaceful conduct of Afghan elections slated for April 5.
“Beefing up security means, there will be more vigilance. At this stage, I can’t say what measures will be taken, but we will like to make sure that there are no unauthorised crossings,” Foreign Office Spokesperson Tasnim Aslam told a weekly press briefing.
The spokesperson said holding of peaceful elections was responsibility of the Afghan security forces supported by ISAF and hoped that despite terrorism in Afghanistan, a large number of people would exercise their right to vote.
On the visit of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s expected visit to Iran in May, the spokesperson said Pakistan wanted a meeting of Joint Ministerial Commission in order to make it more fruitful. “The agenda will be economic cooperation between the two countries,” she said, adding dates of his visit to Iran were being worked out.
She said small incidents could not harm Pakistan-Iran historic and multifaceted relations, emphasising that gamut of bilateral ties between the two neighbours was larger than such incidents.
She also reiterated that the Iranian letter to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon regarding abduction of its guards was not against Pakistan; rather it was about incidents of terrorism.
Referring to PM’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz’s remarks, the spokesperson said Pakistan maintained a balance in its ties with all Muslim countries. She said: “We want harmony among the ties with the Muslim states.”
As to the visit of UK National Security Adviser Kim Darroch, the spokesperson dismissed the impression that it was perhaps related to any assurances on Afghanistan. She, however, said the UK was a NATO member and the adviser discussed Afghanistan with Pakistan.
She made it clear that Pakistan had no interest in disrupting the elections in Afghanistan in a bid to gain political influence in that country, adding Afghan Taliban had already claimed responsibility for the recent terrorist attacks in Afghanistan.
When asked about the Foreign Office assessment about Indian elections, the spokesperson said, “We don’t know regarding the outcome of the polls in that country. It is for the people of India to decide and choose who their next leader would be. We deal with countries and with their governments.”
Answering a question about the prime minister’s visits to China and UK, the spokesperson said he would be visiting China to attend Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference this month while dates of his visit to UK were being worked out mutually through diplomatic channels.
Regarding the US drone strikes; the spokesperson said larger recognition of Pakistan’s stance on the issue prevailed among the international community, adding only six countries abstained from voting on Pakistan’s resolution against drones in the United Nations. Answering a question about rights of Pakistanis in foreign countries, she said: “Our missions and citizens abroad abide by the laws of host countries and expect the same from diplomatic missions here in Pakistan.”

 
 
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