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Under Fire From Opposition, PM Khan Clarifies ‘Terrorists Using Pak Soil’ Remark

© AP Photo / Burhan OzbiliciPakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks during a joint news conference with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in Ankara, Turkey, Friday, Jan. 4, 2019
Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks during a joint news conference with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in Ankara, Turkey, Friday, Jan. 4, 2019 - Sputnik International
Pakistan's Prime Minister is facing severe criticism in the country for publicly acknowledging in the Iranian capital city of Tehran that terrorists had, in the past, staged attacks in Iran from Pakistani territory, but now claims his statement had been largely taken out of context.

New Delhi (Sputnik): Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan has clarified his reference to 'terrorists use Pak Soil'. Khan now says actually intended to underline how some foreign-influenced non-state actors had executed certain terror-related activities on Pakistani soil. The clarification came days after his comment was met with sharp criticism in Pakistani political circles.

"Prime Minister Imran Khan was talking about Non-State Actors using Pakistani soil under  foreign influence to carry out activities in Pakistan or coordinating from Pakistan, case in point is Kulbushan Jadhav and local facilitators. In the same manner, Pakistan is attacked [from terrorists in] Iran and Afghanistan," a statement issued by the Pakistan Prime Minister Office on Wednesday read, according to a report in Geo tv.

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Kulbhushan Yadav is a former Indian naval officer currently imprisoned in Pakistan who is suspected of acts of espionage against Pakistan. Pakistan claims its security forces had arrested Jadhav in restive Balochistan province on 3 March 2016 after he reportedly entered from Iran.

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However, India maintains that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran, where he had business interests after retiring from the Navy. India had recently approached the International Court of Justice, calling the Jadhav affair an "egregious" Pakistani violation of the provisions of the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

Addressing a joint press conference with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the end of his two-day trip (21-22 April) to Tehran, Pakistan's Prime Minister had said, "I know Iran has suffered from terrorism (perpetrated) by groups operating from Pakistan. We (need to) have trust in each other that both countries will not allow any terrorist activity from their soil. We hope this will build confidence between us."

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For two days, opposition parties in Pakistan have been protesting during the Pakistan's National Assembly session.

Khurrum Dastigir, a senior leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) attacked Khan, saying the Prime Minister's statement threatens national security, as for the first time he has admitted the use of (the country's) soil for terrorism in Iran, according to a report in Pakistan's Daily Times. 

Pakistan Peoples Party leader and former foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar said that the statement was not funny anymore, alluding to a faux pas in which Khan had referred to Japan when talking about Germany's relations with its European neighbours. "You cannot play with the future of the country anymore. This was not a slip of the tongue. The prime minister has distorted both geography and history for all of us."

The Prime Minister's office added that Imran Khan has clearly stated during his visit to Iran that terrorists have been using Afghanistan and Iran as staging grounds for attacking Pakistan.




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