Spring festival proves Kohat a peaceful city : Afridi

Kohat, : Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Khan Afridi has said that the Spring Festival 2019 has totally transformed the global perception of Kohat.

Taking to media here on the concluding ceremony of five-day Spring Festival observed here in Kohat Garrison, the Minister said that Kohat is gateway to tribal districts of Kurram, Orakzai, Khyber, North Waziristan and South Waziristan. Holding of a five-day festivity regarding the Spring Festival speaks volumes about the peace and development taking place in the region, he added.
“You must have seen the civil, military unity and solidarity expressed on the eve of this festival. The participation of diplomats of from fourteen countries speaks volumes about the successful event and now these diplomats would act as ambassadors of peace for Pakistan and they would tell the world about peace and development taking place in this part of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) which was previously known as threat to world peace,” said the minister.
The minister said that this march to peace was not easy and rather it has cost Pakistan dearly. He said thousands of Pakistanis from civil and military background have laid down their lives to defeat the scourge of terrorism and now the world needs to honour these sacrifices.
In today’s event, the culture and craftsmanship of all provinces and federating units is being depicted to showcase to the world the economic and cultural strengths of Pakistan. This also sends a message that Pakistanis are one resilient nation and they would stand united to defeat all enemy designs.
“After achieving durable peace, the development process has been started. By launching deepening institutional reforms and a vibrant visa regime, we have opened Pakistan to the world. Now investors, tourists are welcomed and all state institutions stand ready and united to welcome the investors who would get maximum profit in Pakistan. We have rich oil, gas, mineral reserves; we have a lot to offer to the world. Just come and explore Pakistan,” the minister said.
The minister said that visa regime had been revolutionised and entire Pakistan had been opened for exploration. He said that visa fee had been almost withdrawn while online visa, on arrival visa policy had been launched. He said recently a tourism summit had been held in Pakistan to showcase the rich tourism potential of the country for the world.
The minister warned that some hostile forces were trying to paint a negative perception of Pakistan, so it was necessary for the world to come and see Pakistan’s true image.
“As the saying goes, seeing is believing: We have invited senior diplomats who are here today to attend the spring festival. Now they would tell the world our story,” the minister said.
Responding to Pakistan’s report to be submitted with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) next week, the minister said that Pakistan was not acting against proscribed organisations under pressure from the world. Rather, he said that we have to transform Pakistan into a state that no one would ever point a singer at it.
“We have to do it for the good of our future generations. We are not complying with the world under any pressure. We are taking all steps as a responsible and credible global state”.
Spelling out the measures taken by the PTI government, the minister said that by year 2015, there was no regulatory body to monitor the International Non-Government Organisations (INGOs). He said that the PTI took actions against all proscribed organisations across the board, taking all state institutions on board.
“The government has taken over all religious seminaries, ambulances, dispensaries, hospitals and other assets linked to the proscribed organisations. The government has also released funds to run these assets,” he added.
The minister said that in its last report submitted to the FATF, the federal government had pleaded its case in such a professional manner that except India, all the member-states had lauded Pakistan’s efforts, noting a reasonable improvement. All stakeholders are working days in and days out to achieve our goal, the minister said.
Shehryar Afridi said that in past, whenever the FATF delegation came, Pakistan’s case was weak because all state institutions were sending different vibes. However, he added, all the government departments are working jointly to comply with the world body now.
The minister said that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had taken exemplary measures to curb human trafficking and money laundering and all land, air and sea routes had been chocked which were previously used by proscribed organisations to raise funds for their operations.
“Airport Security Force, Customs, FIA, Coast Guards, Rangers, FCs, Army and other institutions have built effective setups to curb illegal movement of money, humans and drugs. We are fencing borders with our neighbouring countries. Our message to the world is that Pakistan won’t allow its soil to be used against any neighbour or distant country. Both Prime Minister and army chief are monitoring these operations,” the minister said.
The minister said that Pakistan would not adhere to ‘do more’ mantra by the world and neither we would take dictation from the world. We have set our house in order. Now it is the turn of the world to do more. Pakistan would plead its case as a credible state and we will tell the world to do more now.

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