Pakistan clarified in the United Nations on Tuesday that any attempt to destabilise the country or to violate its territorial integrity will be dealt with ‘forcefully’ and befittingly.

“Let me be clear, we will be relentless in rooting out terrorism, whosoever its sponsors, external or internal,” Lodhi told the UN Security Council.

“Any effort to destabilise parts of our country or to attack its territorial integrity will be responded to forcefully,” the Pakistan envoy said, while addressing a debate on the situation in Afghanistan.

Terming terrorism a common challenge that the world faced, Lodhi reiterated Pakistan’s stance of denouncing the recent rise in violence in Afghanistan, particularly the vicious attack on the parliament.

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Lodhi further said Pakistan remained committed to cooperate with Afghanistan in eradicating the menace of terrorism.

Concluding, the ambassador said the country would continue to play a positive role in ensuring lasting peace and security in the neighbouring country.

On March 17, the ambassador had expressed hope that Afghan Taliban will join the peace process, stressing there was no military solution to the Afghan conflict.

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Her remarks came amid reports that the Afghan Taliban and the Afghan government had been set to start peace talks.

According to Afghanistan’s deputy foreign minister Hekmat Karzai, Kabul had been in the process of forming a negotiation team for the process.

“We welcome the first, tentative steps taken in recent months to advance the reconciliation process. We hope these steps will lead soon to direct talks as well as de-escalation of violence.”

She maintained, “Pakistan will do everything possible to encourage this process. Success will require reciprocal accommodation and above all, strategic patience.”

Earlier, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), Nicholas Haysom urged the international community establish peace and work for reconciliation by mediate and facilitate direct talks between the government and armed groups.

“The country continued to need the support of the international community and the sustained attention of the Council,” he stressed.

Outlining activities related to the Heart of Asia process that Pakistan co-chaired, she stated that sustainable peace in Afghanistan would lead to regional stability.  She also welcomed Afghan government’s commitment to the return and reintegration of the large population of refugees hosted by Pakistan and hoped for continued UNAMA assistance in that respect.

Ambassador Lodhi called for more focused action with international support to stem the illicit drug trade.  The destinies of Afghanistan and Pakistan were intertwined, and her country would help the Afghan people in whatever way it could to reach the goal of lasting peace.