Tuesday October 03, 2023

After Afghans, Pakistan has greatest stake in region’s peace: PM

November 21, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday said his maiden visit to Kabul a day earlier was “another step towards conveying Pakistan’s commitment to peace in Afghanistan” and stressed that after Afghans, it was Pakistan that has the greatest stake in peace.

On Twitter, the Prime Minister said he never believed in military solutions, rather always believed that peace in Afghanistan would be achieved through political dialogue.

“After the Afghans, we have the greatest stake in this peace as it will allow for connectivity and trade, bringing prosperity to both Afghans and Pakistanis,” he added.

The Prime Minister said the Pakistani people living in the tribal areas, who had suffered the ravages of the war in Afghanistan, would especially benefit from peace and trade.

Separately, President Arif Alvi said Pakistan was ready to assist Afghanistan in its rebuilding and also help in the reintegration of millions of refugees into their society through skill learning. The President, in his virtual address to the high-level consultation on return and reintegration of the Afghan refugees held in Geneva, said on-ground development plans in Afghanistan were important for incorporation of the Afghan refugees.

The consultation, on subject of ‘Return and reintegration: Building a future for all Afghans’ was organised by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the lead-up to the Afghanistan Conference 2020, being held in Geneva on November 23-24. He said Pakistan had set aside almost a billion dollars to help the transition of Afghanistan for a prosperous future, which could prove beneficial to both the countries.

He emphasised that Pakistan and Afghanistan had the potential to become a “geo-economic and geo-strategic hub” allowing goods to move from Central Asia through Afghanistan into Pakistan and towards the sea, and vice versa.

He said the people of Afghanistan had the final authority to decide about their political and economic governance. After Afghanistan, he said, Pakistan was the second most-affected country that suffered the devastation of Afghan war for four decades. “Similarly, the benefits of peace in Afghanistan would also be benefiting Pakistan,” he added. The event highlighted the need for continued support to the Afghan refugees and the host communities. The high-level segment featured video statements of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and United States Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad. The UNHCR head Filippo Grandi also addressed the event.