Washington: Notwithstanding the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai attacks freely roaming in his country, visiting Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today claimed that his government is taking strong action against terrorists across the nation without any discrimination.
Pakistan is carrying out “intelligence based counter terrorism operations” and “non-discriminatory actions” against all terrorists are being undertaken in all parts of the country, Sharif said in his address to the US-Pakistan Business Council which was attended by American CEOs.
Sharif’s remarks on counter terrorism came hours after Secretary of State John Kerry told him to take stronger action against terror groups like the Haqqani network.
In his luncheon with CEOs, Sharif claimed that there has been better business environment and the security situation in Pakistan has improved after he came to power.
“Pakistan is among the few places of the world that offer the promise of land, geography and people all at the same time. Increased urbanisation, favourable demographics, growing middle class and economically empowered women and youth are the recognised drivers of growth,” he said.
Pakistan, he asserted, seeks “good relationship” with all its neighbours.
“I firmly believe that shared prosperity is real prosperity. We can’t maintain peace within unless there is peace without. This is what underpins my approach to a peaceful and friendly neighbourhood,” he said.
“One of the key pillars of my government’s foreign policy is to support and encourage greater regional integration and connectivity. This is where we have our biggest opportunity,” he said adding that the most promising element of this policy is the recently launched China Pakistan Economic Corridor.
Pakistan, he noted, is also working on the TAPI – Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India – gas pipeline.
Sharif said his government is willing to expand the Af-Pak transit trade agreement with other Central Asian states. But he did not mention Afghanistan’s long pending demand of extending it to India.
Sharif said Pakistan has greatly improved its internal security situation, as well as achieved effective governance and public service delivery, resulting in robust economic indicators, in a short span of time.
“We have made a strategic choice to take on terrorists of all hues and colours through a comprehensive strategy, involving stringent law enforcement measures as well as targeted military operations,” he claimed.
“As a result of these concerted national efforts, we have seen a marked improvement in the internal security situation in Pakistan, with the current year witnessing the lowest number of terrorist attacks since 2007,” he added.
“We are confident that the improved security situation in Pakistan would lead to withdrawal of travel advisories on Pakistan,” the prime minister said adding that Pakistan’s economic upturn is being noted worldwide.
“Overcoming energy shortages remains the top most priority for my government. We have evolved a comprehensive strategy, geared towards overcoming the energy problem on a sustainable basis. Our goal is to overcome energy shortages by 2017,” he said.