Pakistan declared Tuesday that it has been engaged in sincere efforts towards peace in Afghanistan but bringing Taliban and others to negotiation table is not just Pakistan’s responsibility.
Without mentioning Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s 26th April address to Afghan parliament in which he threatened diplomatic reprisals against Pakistan if it refuses to take action against the Taliban, Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said that Pakistan has been engaged in sincere and consistent efforts for promoting lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan.
“We have been making serious efforts to facilitate an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process. We believe that violence and bloodshed is not the way to achieve peace. We have therefore strongly condemned the terrorist incident in Kabul,” he said, adding Pakistan’s commitment and support for Afghanistan’s peace, progress and prosperity remains unflinching.
“We have time and again emphasised that bringing Taliban and others to negotiation table is not just Pakistan’s responsibility. All the four members of QCG [Quadrilateral Co-ordination Group] have a joint commitment to the peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan,” the spokesperson emphasised.
“Let me reiterate that Pakistan’s stakes in peace and stability in Afghanistan are higher than others. Pakistan itself is among the biggest victims of terrorism having lost tens of thousands of lives of its citizens,” he said.
He said that Pakistan’s resolve to eliminate terrorism is manifested in the sacrifices of around 5500 valiant soldiers and law enforcement personnel with their lives.
“We draw no distinction between any terrorists. They have no religion and no value for the human lives. We condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations,” he added.
Zakaria referred to the 4th QCG meeting’s joint statement, which, inter alia, said: “The QCG member states invite all Taliban and other groups to participate through their Authorized representatives in the first round of direct peace talks with the Afghan government expected to take place by the first week of March 2016. Pakistan has graciously offered to host this round of talks in Islamabad”.
He stated that the 4th QCG welcomed the decision by Afghanistan and Pakistan to constitute a bilateral joint working group to work with the honourable Ulema of Afghanistan and Pakistan for their support to an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process, including through Fatwas against the ongoing senseless violence.
He said that the QCG also agreed to continue joint endeavours as part of their shared commitments to advance the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan.
In a policy statement to the Afghan Parliament on Monday on the recent Kabul attack, President Ghani doubted Pakistan’s efforts towards peace and stability in Afghanistan.
“I want to make it clear that we no longer expect Pakistan to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table,” Ghani said, adding “But we want Pakistan to fulfil its promises … and take military action against their sanctuaries and leadership based on its soil. If they can’t target them, they should hand them over to our judiciary.”
“If we do not see a change, despite our sincere efforts for regional cooperation, we will be forced to turn to the UN Security Council and start serious diplomatic efforts,” President Ghani was quoted by the Afghan media as having told the two houses of the Afghan parliament.
Source: Business Recorder