Pakistan ready to take all steps for promoting reconciliation process in Afghanistan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Wednesday reiterated that it is prepared to take all possible steps and measures to promote peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.

This was stated by Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi while talking to reporters here Wednesday.

He said release of the Afghan Taliban prisoners by Pakistan was also one of the steps to facilitate the Afghan-led and Afghan- owned reconciliation process.

He said Taliban leader Mullah Baradar was released at the express desire of Afghan President Hamid Karzai during his last visit to Pakistan.

Answering a question, he said Pakistan would not hand over Mullah Brother to any one and he is free to go anywhere. Pakistan is providing security to him to ensure that he should not be harmed, he added.

The Special Assistant said Afghanistan wanted Pakistan to persuade Taliban to talk to Afghan High Peace Council, which has been assigned the task of reconciliation in that country.

He said it would be in the interest of both Afghanistan and Pakistan if Afghan Government and Taliban reach an understanding before withdrawal of foreign troops in 2014.

Fatemi said the peace in Afghanistan is essential for ensuring peace and stability in Pakistan and the region.

Earlier, speaking at the concluding ceremony of 7th Regional Workshop for Judges, Prosecutors and Police Officers of South Asia on Effectively Countering Terrorism, Tariq Fatemi said there is growing recognition that the problem of extremism and terrorism is neither confined to a single country, nor can be tackled by a single country.

He said there is a need for cooperation across the frontiers to address the challenge of extremism and terrorism.

He said the problem of terrorism is being faced by the entire humanity but its manifestation in Pakistan has been extremely serious.

He said Pakistan has suffered enormously in terms of lives, resources, besides affecting its image and credibility.

Fatemi said Pakistan is firm and committed in its resolve to combat terrorism which has many forms and manifestations.

He said economic growth and development play extremely important role in fighting terrorism and with this in view, the present Government has made revival of economy its highest priority.

He said, “There is no way to combat terrorism and extremism unless we improve the living standards, create jobs and create a harmonious society”.

He said there is no place for extremism and intolerance in Islam or any other faith or religion.

The Special Assistant said, “Irrespective of the reality that the problem of terrorism is a legacy of past mistakes by us and many others, Pakistan is deeply committed to address the challenge with the cooperation of the international community”.

He said the judiciary and media in Pakistan are independent and civil society is vibrant and this augurs well for solution of the problems confronting the nation.

Tariq Fatemi said it is irony that in a Muslim majority state, extremism and terrorism have taken its roots.

Referring to peace-loving religion of Islam, he said there is not a single region in the world which sanctions or approves extremism and terrorism.

Appreciating international cooperation and holding of this workshop, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi said “We acknowledged the efforts of our friends to resolve the current problems.”

The Regional Workshop was also addressed by Jean Paul Laborte Executive Director Center for Counter Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate and Alistair Millar Director Center of Global Center for Counter Terrorism Cooperation.

The Workshop was participated by the representatives from Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh, the Maldives and Nepal.

Tariq Fatemi also distributed certificates among the participants after the concluding session.