For peace in Afghanistan, Pakistan involvement must: Pak Foreign Minister
International

For peace in Afghanistan, Pakistan involvement must: Pak Foreign Minister

Washington, Oct 5: In an indirect reference to United States, Pakistan Foreign Minister has asserted that that there can be no progress in the Afghan peace process without involving Pakistan and this cooperation can only be gained in a friendly manner.

“I have succeeded in conveying the message that there can be no progress in the Afghan peace process without involving Pakistan and to seek this cooperation, it is important to maintain friendly ties with Pakistan. Pressures and blame-games worsen a situation, they do not improve it,” Mr Qureshi as quoted by Dawn said on Thursday.

The Foreign Minister, while addressing a wide-ranging news conference at the end of his 10-day visit to the US, pointed out that Pakistan had a 70-year-old relationship with America, which should not be viewed through “Afghanistan’s prism”.

Mr Qureshi said it would be wrong to expect that all differences between the US and Pakistan could be resolved in one day.

Pakistan is ‘criticised’ by United States for ‘providing’ safe heavens to militant group Haqqani network and having a ‘soft’ approach towards Talibans.

Haqqni network and Taliban are continuously targeting foreign forces in worn-torn Afghanistan.

Mr Qureshi said that in his talks with Secretary Pompeo he stressed this point and the need for reviving a structured dialogue between Pakistan and the US.

In the meetings with US Secretary of State a change in the US attitude was reflected, very different from the statements that Washington had issued in the past one year, Mr Qureshi said, indicating that previous statements were harsh and critical.

US President Donald Trump in January this year suspended 1.1 billion dollars of security assistance to Pakistan. In another setback, Pentagon in September announced that US military was planning to cancel 300 million dollars in aid.

Underlining the need for maintaining US-Pakistan ties, he said, “You had certain expectations. We had certain expectations. There were occasions when you were disappointed. There were occasions when we were disappointed. But now is the time to move ahead.”

Misunderstandings, he said, should not lead to discontinuation of ties because “discontinuation will not help. Staying engaged will.”

Mr Qureshi said he had discussed a strategy with US officials for promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan, but this was not the right time to disclose that strategy.

Referring to Pakistan’s stance that there was “no military solution” to the Afghan conflict, he said, “Now, all parties concede that only a political settlement will end this conflict. An atmosphere is emerging, which favours a negotiated settled. What would be the result of this effort, it is too early to say.”

Describing how this effort could be fruitful, he said,“Only talks and mutual trust can resolve this issue. We must stay engaged.” (UNI)