Pakistan vows to defend sovereignty

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Afghan border clashes
Sources say clashes were triggered by unprovoked firing from Afghan side
ISLAMABAD
The Foreign Office on Friday indirectly acknowledged border clashes between Pakistan and Taliban forces, saying the country stands ready to defend itself against any threat to its security and sovereignty. There have been reports of sporadic clashes between Pakistan and the Afghan Taliban forces over the past three days. There was no official word from either side about the cause of clashes.
However, sources said the clashes were triggered by unprovoked firing from the Afghan side. There were casualties on both sides but Islamabad and Kabul remained tightlipped.
At the weekly briefing, Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch without sharing any specific details said: “Our armed forces and our security forces are ready to defend the territory and the people of Pakistan from any threat that affects or endangers our security.”
“Pakistan has conveyed its deepest concerns about the situation and urges the Afghan authorities to ensure that the soil of Afghanistan is not used to threaten Pakistan’s security and that it should take effective action against terror groups that continue to threaten Pakistan, Pakistani public and law enforcement and security officials,” she added. However, the spokesperson emphasised that Pakistan respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan. “We urge Afghanistan to take action against terror groups that threaten its sovereignty and the security of Pakistan. Pakistan has always said that it will defend itself against any threat to its security and sovereignty, including from terror groups that threaten Pakistan’s security,” she said.
Tensions have been simmering between the two neighbours as cross border terrorist attacks continued despite Pakistan’s strong protest. Commenting on the statements from certain Indian officials about the recent protests in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), the spokesperson said Pakistan strongly rejected the statements emanating from the eastern neighbour.
“We reject the irresponsible statements that are coming in from the Indian side amidst the ongoing election campaign. Regrettably, these statements reflect an unhealthy and entrenched obsession with Pakistan and reveal a deliberate intent to exploit hyper-nationalism for electoral gains,” the spokesperson maintained.
“These also signify a desperate attempt to deflect attention from mounting domestic and international criticism,” she noted. “With regards to the inflammatory rhetoric about Azad Jammu and Kashmir, we reiterate that historical facts, legal principles, moral considerations and ground realities refute India’s baseless claims and Jammu and Kashmir remains an internationally-recognised disputed territory as the UN Security Council resolutions clearly mandate a plebiscite under auspices of the United Nations. We believe that no amount of inflated Indian statements can change this reality.”