Sunday, July 3, 2011

Riyadh, Islamabad join hands to fight terror

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are working on a mechanism to jointly fight terrorism, Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik said here on Saturday. “Terrorism is our common enemy and we want to eradicate it from the face of the earth. The enemies of the Kingdom are our enemies too. We are working to put in place an effective mechanism to fight them,” Malik said. Pakistan always believed in the wisdom of the Saudi leadership and looks to it for guidance and support, he said. “We are in agreement with the Saudi leadership that terrorists are not only working against the interest of both the nations but also against the Ummah. “They have their own version of Islam in which they use minors as suicide bombers and kill hundreds of innocents every day. We want the true spirit and teaching of our divine faith to prevail. We want books in the hands of our children, but the Taleban provide them with suicide vests. This must stop. “And we are working jointly in that direction and soon we will be able to curb extremism and violence in the name of religion to make this world free of terror,” Malik said. Malik met with Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal here on Saturday and discussed, apart from terror-related issues, regional security and stability. He also briefed him about the progress of the investigation into Saudi diplomat Hasan Misfer Al-Qahtani's killing in Karachi on May 15. “We have the weapon that was used in Al-Qahtani's killing. We also have an important lead in this case and we will crack it soon. I am meeting with Interior Minister Prince Naif and will discuss at length security and other issues,” Malik said. He added the diplomat's killing was done by “Pakistan’s enemy” to tarnish the country’s image and also drive a wedge in ties with the Kingdom. “But they have failed, our ties are rock-solid and our resolve to take these elements head on has been further strengthened,” he added. Speaking about the detention of Osama Bin Laden's family in Pakistan, the minister said: “The nationalities of many have not yet been conclusively established, so it was not possible to deport them. “Secondly, a judicial commission, headed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court, has been formed to probe the circumstances leading to the US raid in Abbottabad that killed Bin Laden. They will be needed to testify before the commission,” Malik said. Responding to reports that Bin Laden's son Omar was trying to secure the release of the family through the UN, Malik said, “No one has contacted us in this regard.” He also said Pakistan and Afghanistan were working to raise a taskforce to secure their porous border. “The responsibility to check infiltration lies with both the countries. We have discussed this issue with the Afghan leadership in our meeting in Tehran. We believe that a safe Afghanistan can ensure a safe Pakistan.” Asked about the status of the Shamsi Airbase, which the US has been reportedly using to launch drone strikes against militants in the area, the minister said: “We are a sovereign nation and nothing will be allowed to hurt the country’s interests. The Defense Ministry, however, is the competent authority to comment on it.”


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