Close ISI-NDS cooperation to result in effective border management: Sartaj

ISLAMABAD: A close collaboration between Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) would help check terrorist activities, Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said on Friday.

He said this while he was addressing a press conference here. He expressed confidence that a close ISI-NDS working relationship would result in effective border management with Afghanistan. He said that the response by the Pakistani border forces in retaliation to firing from terrorists and drug smugglers to trespass was often mistaken by Afghan side as unprovoked firing from Pakistan.

A trust-worthy exchange of information and intelligence sharing would check the inflow of terrorists, he added. He said though several clues pointed to involvement of Indian intelligence agency RAW in the recent Quetta terrorist incident, but “Pakistan would not want finger-pointing without solid proof”.

He said the Indian serving officer Kalbhushun Yadav arrested on spying charges was running a network in Pakistan and investigations were in progress to find his links with the Quetta incident. He said that Pakistan was considering to translate its unilateral moratorium of Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) of nuclear material into a bilateral arrangement on non-testing with India.

Terming it a “one-step ahead” in Pakistan’s commitment to nuclear non-proliferation, he said that the ball would be in India’s court to endorse the objective. Despite being non-signatory to the Treaty, Pakistan maintains a voluntary moratorium on nuclear testing.

He said that Pakistan consistently supported CTBT after it voted on adoption by the UN General Assembly in 1996. He also said that Pakistan’s strong lobbying efforts for membership of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) had yielded positive results.

Pakistan’s arguments for criteria-based approach and the impact of any India-specific exemption on the strategic stability in South Asia and on the future of non-proliferation regime, has been accepted by several NSG countries, he added. “It’s not only that we aim at blocking India. It’s the strategic stability to which Pakistan and India are inter-dependent upon,” he said.

He said that Pakistan was committed not to transfer nuclear weapons to other states or assist others to acquire nuclear weapons. He also said that Pakistan was confident of the merits of its membership application, with its export controls fully harmonized with those of NSG, Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and Australia Group.

He mentioned the recent three steps taken to strengthen nuclear safety including public statement on nuclear test moratorium, ratification of the 2005 amendment to the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) and declaring adherence to NSG guidelines.

He said that the issue of NSG membership could not be separated from the consideration of strategic stability in the region. “In 2008, the NSG missed an opportunity to promote simultaneous adherence to non-proliferation benchmarks by Pakistan and India, as a part of a package deal, which would have promoted restraint and stability in the region,” he said.

He said, “We are formally inviting NSG Troika (Korea, Argentina and Switzerland) to visit Pakistan for a detailed briefing on our credentials.”

He also said that there were indications of a splinter group of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan’s (TTP) involvement in Quetta attack. He said that the Afghan intelligence agency NDS is known to be indirectly supporting such groups and there is also collaboration between NDS and Indian intelligence agency RAW.

“Arrested RAW agent Kulbhushan Yadev is being investigated as he was not alone and was working through an elaborate network,” he added. About the Indian involvement in subversive activities in Pakistan, the Advisor said Pakistan has already shared a dossier on the issue with the world community and UN.

He said that the dossier would be updated before next UN General Assembly Session. To a question, he said that Kashmir would be on top of the agenda of Pakistan during forthcoming session of the UN General Assembly.

He said that Pakistan has written to the UN Human Rights Council on human rights violations and the Council has conveyed to India that it wants to send a fact-finding mission to Indian-held Kashmir. He said there is positive progress on the issue of Pakistan’s membership for Nuclear Suppliers’ Group. “The need for practical implementation of understanding between Pakistan and Afghanistan for closer coordination between ISI and NDS,” he emphasised.

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