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‘Heart of Asia’ declaration which named LeT, JeM was unanimous: Aziz

Islamabad: The declaration adopted at the ‘Heart of Asia’ conference, which named Pakistan-based terror outfits LeT and JeM, was unanimous, said Sartaj Aziz, advisor to the country’s Prime Minister, who attended the meet in Amritsar.

On his return home, Aziz sought to play down its significance by highlighting that other groups were also mentioned in the declaration along with Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad, the terror groups blamed for attacks in India.

Addressing a press conference, he said the emphasis of the conference was on tackling all regional outfits to stamp down militancy. HOA is a platform for discussing reconstruction of the trouble-torn Afghanistan.

The HoA declaration expressed serious concern over gravity of the security situation in Afghanistan and in many parts of the region, holding that united efforts are required to contain terror groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Taliban, the Haqqani Network, Al Qaida, IS and its affiliates, TTP, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, Jundullah and other foreign terrorist groups.

Aziz said the declaration was unanimous and not only Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad were mentioned but several groups were named.

“We are not under pressure to deal with militancy. It is not true as we are already doing it in our own interest,” he said.

“I put forward the objective situation in my statement. I said that we need holistic approach, as there are different groups and foreign elements. Afghanistan is complex and needs careful handling,” Aziz said.

He also defended the Pakistan government’s decision to attend the HoA conference.

“It was good decision to attend HoA. It was good to attend multilateral forum…to show solidarity with Afghanistan. If we had boycotted, then India would say that first they expelled Pakistan from SAARC and now from HoA,” he said.

Aziz also said that on the sidelines of the conclave he met Iranian foreign minister Jawad Zarif, foreign minister of Turkmenistan and Chinese assistant foreign minister.

To a question, he said India had restricted movements of the Pakistani delegation.

“Our interactions were not structured but overall there were constructive,” he said.

PTI