ISLAMABAD - Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz yesterday told the National Assembly that Pakistan believed only effective border management could enhance security and check infiltration of terrorists along the Pak-Afghan border.

“These tensions are against the spirit of friendship between Pakistan and Afghanistan, which is based on common religion, cultural values and strong bonds between the people of the two countries,” said Sartaj Aziz, giving a policy statement. He said it was important for the two sides to resolve issues through dialogue.

About the importance of border management system, he said durable peace could only be achieved by addressing the critical requirements to improve security and sustainability. He said during a meeting of the Afghan ambassador with senior officials, including the chief of army staff, it was agreed that Afghan side would allow construction work to regulate movement of people and traffic across the border.

Aziz outlined three dimensions where Afghanistan and Pakistan should indulge in joint collaboration, coordination and cooperation. He expressed serious concerns over the unprovoked firing by the Afghan forces to disrupt border management inside Pakistani territory at Torkham border.

He averred Pakistan had already informed Afghan authorities regarding the new policy to strictly follow documentation procedures as it would enhance security control of the border area.

“It is necessary to curb terrorists, infiltrators, smugglers and traffickers who have facilitators on both sides of the border,” he said, adding these protocols would serve the interests of both sides. This programme of alignment was planned to be implemented along the whole border.

Sharing the history, he said, Pakistan established control over Torkham border in 2004. “Objections were raised by Afghan authorities at the end of 2014. Pakistan addressed the concerns by explaining the ground situation that the status quo was maintained through border patrols and mechanism. The operations did not violate any bilateral treaty between the two countries nor was any international law violated,” Aziz told the house.

He further said the line of approach undertaken by Pakistani authorities was to regulate the flow of refugees and transport according to the documented procedure which would ensure peace in terms of movement and workflow.

Aziz said Pakistan had not shown aggression or instigated the Afghans. “I have contacted the Afghan foreign minister and national security adviser to review the gaps. They appreciated the effort to keep the lines of communication open in order to resume dialogue after the hostile situation,” he stated.

Earlier, taking part in budget debate, PkMAP chief Mehmood Khan Achakzai said there was a need to pass a joint resolution to take nod for all internal and external policies from the parliament. “With a strong parliament, the country will progress speedily,” he said.

He questioned why proper investigations were not carried out into vital cases like Benazir murder cases, Ziaul Haq plane crash, Ojhri Camp, 12 May incident etc. “We can save Pakistan by equally giving resources of provinces to the people of their areas,” he said, adding all the provinces should have authority on their resources. He added political forces should also take initiative to control corruption. Achakzai also said that all the political forces were unanimous on western route of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, but still work had not started.

He criticised razing of buildings and bazaars in the name of terrorism in Fata. “You bulldoze buildings and homes and expect unanimous slogan ‘Pakistan Zinda baad’,” he added.

GG Jamal from Fata, on his turn, said the people of his area would always be ready to sacrifice for the country. “There is a need of proper border management,” he said.

Parliamentary Secretary for Interior Maryam Aurangzaib, on her turn, said that situation of security had improved during the current government’s era. “Pakistan is getting good results against terrorism due to operation Zarb-e-Azab,” she said, adding the government had introduced a counter-terrorism policy for the first time in the country.

The treasury benches lawmaker and BISP chairperson, Marvi Memon, termed the federal budget 2016-17 balanced in all aspects. “There is no discrimination against the small provinces in this budget as the PML-N government believes in equal treatment,” she said.

ANP’s Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, on his turn, said Pakistan cannot afford another martial law and claimed some elements were making efforts to create circumstances for it.