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April 26, 2019

Pakistan not be party to any Afghan conflict: Imran

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April 26, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday said his country would not be a party to any internal conflict in neighbouring Afghanistan.

“Afghanistan conflict has brought great suffering for both Afghanistan and Pakistan over the last 40 years. Now, after a long wait, the Afghanistan peace process presents a historic opportunity for peace in the region and Pakistan is fully supporting the process including the next logical step of Intra-Afghan Dialogue wherein Afghans will themselves decide the future of their country”, Prime Minister Khan said in a statement issued here.

Prime Minister Khan stated that Pakistan was dismayed by the surge of violence in Afghanistan from all sides. “The so-called offensives are condemnable and will undermine the peace process. It is not right to seek an edge in dialogue through coercion.” “Pakistan will makeall diplomatic and security efforts to make the peace process a success.” Last month, Afghanistan recalled its ambassador from Islamabad after Prime Minister Imran Khan was quoted in the local media suggesting the formation of an interim Afghan government that would smoothen peace talks between US and Taliban officials. The premier was quoted as saying to Pakistani journalists that the Afghan Taliban wanted to meet him but the government in Kabul protested so he did not meet them.

Later at a rally, Prime Minister Khan explained his comments as “brotherly advice” to the people and government of Afghanistan and should not be considered interference.

Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also stated that the prime minister’s comments were reported out of context. Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal said the prime minister had referred to Pakistan's model, where elections are held under an interim government and said his comments should not be misinterpreted to imply interference in Afghanistan's internal affairs.

The spokesperson said Pakistan has no other interest in Afghanistan, but to promote peace through an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led political process. Earlier, before embarking on an official visit to China, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that the China Pakistan Economic Corridor will remain a priority for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government and misunderstandings about CPEC should be removed.

In his statement, PM Khan said that he is beginning his visit with the resolve to take strategic cooperative partnership with China to newer heights. “China is our closest friend and ‘iron brother’. I look forward to meet my good friends, President Xi and Premier Li, for an in-depth exchange of views on all issues of mutual interest,” the statement quoted the PM as saying.

PM Imran Khan said that Pakistan-China bilateral ties are not only based on convergence of interests but are rooted in common experiences of past and high level of mutual trust and understanding.

He further said that the ties will remain unaffected by any regional and international developments. “In phase II of CPEC we are jointly focusing on socio-economic development, job creation, livelihood projects and accelerating cooperation in agriculture and industrial cooperation including Special Economic Zones,” said the premier.

PM said that Pakistan will standby China on all issues of core interest, thanking the neighbouring country for its support for Pakistan’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. PM Imran said that the CPEC is a flagship project, reaffirming his commitment to strengthening bilateral ties.

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