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October 20, 2020

Pakistan for Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace process

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October 20, 2020

ISLAMABAD: With focus back on the intra-Afghan talks in Doha, Pakistan Monday stressed the importance of an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process.

“All parties must honour their respective commitments and work for reduction in violence leading to ceasefire. The Afghan leaders must seize this historic opportunity to achieve durable and sustainable peace in Afghanistan,” Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told the visiting Afghan leader, Gulbaddin Hekmatyar, leader of Hezb-e-Islami Afghanistan, who called on him at the Foreign Office.

Hekmatyar is on a three-day visit to Pakistan. During the visit, he will meet with political and parliamentary leadership and other dignitaries. However, the Foreign Office in its statement did not make available the views of Hekmatyar during the meeting.

Qureshi welcomed the delegation and underscored the historic ties of amity and brotherhood between Pakistan and Afghanistan. He reaffirmed Pakistan’s desire to further strength the close fraternal relations between the two countries.

Pakistan says it has always supported a peaceful, stable, united, democratic, sovereign and prosperous Afghanistan. “Prime Minister Imran Khan has consistently underlined that there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan.

The foreign minister added that Pakistan facilitated the process that culminated in the US-Taliban Peace Agreement in Doha on 29 February 2020 and supported the commencement of Intra-Afghan Negotiations,” the foreign minister told the Afghan dignitary.

He also underlined the importance of exercising vigilance and guarding against the role of ‘spoilers’, both within and outside. He highlighted the steps taken by Pakistan to support Afghanistan on its path to reconstruction and economic development as well as for improved transit and bilateral trade relations.

The foreign minister underlined the importance of making the return of Afghan refugees to their homeland with dignity and honour a part of the peace process. In another meeting with the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan (SRSG), Deborah Lyons, Pakistan underlined and appreciated the role of UNAMA’s in supporting Afghanistan’s socio-economic development as per its mandate. The foreign minister highlighted Pakistan’s facilitative role in the Afghan peace process, which had been acknowledged by the international community.

He said Pakistan was keen to see the peace process move forward which would help reduce violence and deny space to ‘spoilers’ who did not wish to see return of peace and stability in the region.

Qureshi reiterated that the vision of economic prosperity and regional connectivity could not be realized without a peaceful and stable Afghanistan. He also highlighted the range of steps taken by Pakistan to support Afghanistan in transit trade and movement of people, despite the challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic.

Reaffirming Pakistan’s commitment to a safe and dignified return of Afghan refugees to their homeland, the foreign minister urged UNAMA to play an active role in helping with time-bound and well-resourced refugee return and their sustainable reintegration in the Afghan society. He also assured SRSG Lyons of Pakistan’s support to UNAMA in promoting the shared objective of a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan.