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Qureshi says buck cannot be passed to Pakistan for peace in Afghanistan


ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Saturday said that peace in Afghanistan is a shared responsibility by regional and global players and one cannot simply pass the buck to Pakistan.

The foreign minister, talking to TRT World during his visit to Antalya, Turkey, said that Pakistan had been engaged constructively for peace and stability in Afghanistan and would continue to do so.

“But this is a shared responsibility. You cannot pass the buck towards Pakistan.

“Pakistan is one regional player. There are others global players and there are other interests that are paramount in the region,” the foreign minister said.

“So, it has to be a holistic approach and Pakistan will be partner in peace,” he added.

Pakistan is keen to see both the Afghan peace process and withdrawal of troops advancing in tandem but in fact there is a disconnect between the two, said the foreign minister.

He said Pakistan had called for a responsible withdrawal besides desiring that the peace process go side by side.

“What I am seeing is that the withdrawal is taking place at a fairly rapid pace but the peace process is moving ahead at snail’s pace. And that is a bit of a disconnect over there.

“And that is of concern to me,” the foreign minister said.

He said he was concerned over the rising level of violence in Afghanistan and which was not just linked to the Taliban, but Daesh and other spoilers within Afghanistan, who were perhaps not keen to see peace and stability there.

“They have their own designs and motives […] This is a complicated situation.

“There are internal struggles going on within Afghanistan,” Qureshi said.

He said other conflicts like the Jammu and Kashmir dispute were also impeding economic progress and integration in the region.

Qureshi said that the world has increasingly been embroiled in great competition and confrontation, and people are being forced to take sides.

He said the COVID-19 pandemic was still lingering and would obviously leave behind its economic and financial implications which also necessitated preparedness.

The foreign minister said Pakistan had been facilitating the peace process and engaging with all regional powers at every forum including the Doha process, Istanbul process, Heart of Asia and Moscow format.

Pakistan will ‘absolutely not’ give bases to CIA

Qureshi’s remarks follow comments by Prime Minister Imran Khan, who, in an interview with Jonathan Swan of HBO’s Axios said that Pakistan will not give its bases to the US for operations in Afghanistan after the latter’s withdrawal of troops.

The US is in talks with Pakistan and other regional countries for cooperation in future operations in the war-torn country to keep a check on militancy.

However, the country has clearly conveyed to Washington that this is not possible.

The prime minister was asked by the US media whether Pakistan would consider giving access to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for military bases.

“Will you allow the American government to have the CIA here in Pakistan to conduct cross border counter-terrorism missions against Al Qaeda, ISIS and the Taliban?” Swan asked the premier.

“Absolutely not,” PM Imran Khan responded.

“There’s no way we’re going to allow any bases or any sort of action from Pakistani territory into Afghanistan. Absolutely not.”

2021-06-19 22:12:00

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