Pakistan under no pressure to eliminate terrorism — Foreign Office

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Dr. Muhammad Faisal. (APP)
Updated 25 October 2018

Pakistan under no pressure to eliminate terrorism — Foreign Office

  • Statement follows warning issued by Washington to Islamabad recently
  • Experts say peaceful resolution of Afghan conflict necessary to reset ties with US

ISLAMABAD: Dispelling rumors that Pakistan was under pressure from the US to eliminate alleged militant sanctuaries in its tribal districts bordering Afghanistan, the Foreign Ministry on Thursday said that the government would initiate measures only if those were in the national interest of the country.
“There is no question of any country applying pressure on Pakistan,” Foreign Office Spokesperson, Dr. Muhammad Faisal, said in response to a statement made by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently.
Pompeo had told reporters on Tuesday that the US had warned Pakistan that it would be “held to account” if it failed to curb terror sanctuaries, hoping that Pakistan would be able to “achieve the goals” set by the US.
Responding to the comment, Dr. Faisal said: “Pakistan will initiate measures for something which we believe is in our national interest.” 
Drawing attention to his meetings with Pakistani leaders in Islamabad a few weeks ago, Pompeo had added: “Everyone wants reconciliation in Afghanistan and to achieve that, you can’t have a safe harbor for Taliban, for Haqqani and for others inside of Pakistan. Hope Pakistan achieves (the) goal we have set for them.”
Reiterating that peace and stability in Afghanistan were also vital for eliminating the menace of terrorism inside Pakistan and the region in general, Dr. Faisal said: “Pakistan and the United States are engaged with other regional stakeholders to pursue a political settlement in Afghanistan.”
Emphasizing on the need to adopt an early resolution to the protracted conflict in Afghanistan, he added that Pakistan wants an “Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process”. “Both Pakistan and America have been struggling for a long-lasting peace in Afghanistan. Pakistan has been taking action (against militants) in its own national interest and will continue doing so,” Dr. Faisal said, terming the recent elections in Afghanistan as a “positive development” and expressing hope that the political process would move forward in the country.
Afghanistan’s parliamentary elections, held on October 20, gave nationals an opportunity to elect their representatives, despite the Taliban issuing threats of violence and urging people to boycott the vote. 
Tahir Malik, an academic and analyst of international relations, said that a visible thaw in the Pakistan-US relations could be seen following Pompeo’s recent visit to Islamabad, even though both countries had a lot of work to do in order to bridge the trust deficit between them.
“It is in the interest of both Pakistan and the United States to address all possible irritants in their relationship as quickly as possible. Peace in Afghanistan also hinges upon a good relationship between the two countries and they need to be on the same page to achieve it,” he said.

Nepalese climbers bag mountaineering’s last great prize: winter ascent of Pakistan’s K2

Updated 16 min 12 sec ago

Nepalese climbers bag mountaineering’s last great prize: winter ascent of Pakistan’s K2

  • One of the ten Nepalese mountaineers performed the feat without using an oxygen cylinder
  • K2 earned the nickname of ‘savage mountain’ since a large number of climbers lost their lives while trying to scale it

ISLAMABAD: A group of Nepalese climbers made history on Saturday by summiting the world’s second tallest mountain, K2, in winter, according to its team leader who made the announcement on Facebook only minutes after making the accomplishment. 

“The Karakorum’s ‘Savage Mountain’ has been summited in the most dangerous season: WINTER,” Chhang Dawa Sherpa exclaimed in his social media post.

His announcement was also confirmed by an official of the Alpine Club of Pakistan which deals with mountaineering expeditions in the country.

At 8,611 meters, K2 was the only peak among the 14 “8000ers” located in the Karakorum and Himalayan mountain ranges that remained unconquered during winter. 

Along the icy glaciers of the Karakoram, mountaineers and locals speak about K2 summits with a hushed reverence, and folklore in the area is rife with mythical stories of the mountain “permitting” climbers to reach its top — considered the ultimate honor granted to a mortal by nature. 

When a climb doesn't go as planned, locals tell each other the mountain refused to be scaled. 

“The Nepalese climbers finally reached the summit of Mt. K2 … this afternoon at 17:00 local time,” Dawa wrote. “This is the first winter ascent of the 2nd highest mountain in the world and the ONLY eight-thousander (8000er) to be climbed in winter. This is a greatest achievement in the history of mountaineering, this is a good example of team work … ‘If a mountain lets you climb it, no one can stop you.’” 

One of the ten Nepalese climbers, Mingma G, also became the first mountaineer to summit the peak in winter without an oxygen cylinder.

K2 earned the nickname of “savage mountain” since a large number of climbers — 86 in all — lost their lives while trying to scale it. 

In 2008, 11 climbers from an international expedition died in what was considered as the single worst accident in the history of mountaineering. 

K2 straddles the Pakistan-China border. While it is about two-and-a-half football fields shorter than Everest (8,848 meters), it is widely considered to be the toughest and most dangerous mountain to climb. 

More than 300 climbers have scaled K2 in spring and summer. Italians Achille Compagnoni and Lino Lacedelli were the first to reach its summit in the summer of 1954.