Expanded ISAF Meeting
(Chicago, 20-21 May 2012)
Your Excellency President Barrack Obama,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am very pleased to join the leaders of NATO and other members of the international community in this important gathering to express our support for peaceful transition in Afghanistan.
This is a defining moment for Afghanistan and the region as a whole. I stand here to confirm our belief that a peaceful, prosperous and stable Afghanistan is in Pakistanâs national interest. Our destinies are inter-linked.
As the government and people of Afghanistan increasingly assume the security responsibilities for their country, I am confident that they will meet this challenge.
Success in Afghanistan will confirm once again that partnerships can and do transform the fortunes of a nation.
The international commitment to Afghanistan must be firm and complete. The international community must stay the course in Afghanistan, and ensure a strong and peaceful Afghanistan beyond 2014. International support to effective and sustainable Afghan National Security Forces in the post transition period is critical.
We remain supportive of all efforts for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.
We firmly believe that only an inclusive intra-Afghan dialogue can lead to sustainable peace in Afghanistan.
In the context of our agenda today, I am pleased to announce that Pakistan will contribute 5 million dollars to support the Afghan National Security Forces, besides 15 million dollars in training and equipment.
This is in keeping with our commitment to durable peace and stability in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan is at the heart of our region. It has a pivotal role to play in regional economic development. Yesterday I agreed with Brother Karzai to extend the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement to Tajikistan and other Central Asian States. We want to be part of all initiatives to assist and support the economic integration of the region surrounding Afghanistan.
Pakistan remains committed to eradicating terrorism and extremism. We have lost thousands of lives and suffered enormous economic losses in our fight against extremism.
As we meet here today, our forces continue to carry out operations against terrorist elements and Al-Qaeda remnants.
The Salala incident came as a serious setback. It required that we review our engagement and cooperation. There was a consensus among all political parties in our Parliament on this issue.
Our Parliament gave a roadmap for future engagement with NATO and ISAF.
The democratic forces have taken ownership of that road map.
We are bound by the advice of our Parliament and the democratic forces.
Our Parliament has spoken in favor of cooperation and a partnership approach.
Such a venture is sustainable on the long-term basis only on the foundation of mutual respect for sovereignty and cooperative spirit.
The Defence Committee of the Cabinet of the Government of Pakistan has considered the issue.
It decided to direct the relevant officials to conclude negotiations for resumption of the Ground Lines of Communication.
Our Parliament has also recommended that foreign fighters and non state actors seeking to destabilize Afghanistan and the region, if found on our soil, must be expelled.
We are devising a comprehensive plan for this purpose. This would require the support of the international community both in terms of resources and capacity building.
It will also require measures aimed at the economic well-being of the people of the areas affected by the military action.
As citizens of the global village, our destinies are interlinked. We all have a stake in durable peace. We all suffer if violence takes root in any part of the world.
The message I bring to you from Pakistan is that we believe in partnerships based on trust and respect. Partnerships that will secure the future of our peoples.
Let us fight together, not just against the forces of terrorism and extremism but also against illiteracy, illicit drugs, hunger, poverty and disease. In the ultimate analysis, ours is a battle for the hearts and minds, of the young and the old and of the men and women alike.
I thank you.
As a nation, we face challenges, some of them undeniably tough, like the threat of extremism, a troubled economy, a...