Sunday September 26, 2021

Imran refuses to give bases to US

“Absolutely not! There is no way we are going to allow any bases, any sort of action from the Pakistani territory into Afghanistan,” he told "Axios on HBO" in an interview.

Ag APP

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Saturday categorically said Pakistan would ‘absolutely not’ allow any bases and use of its territory for any sort of action inside Afghanistan.

“Absolutely not! There is no way we are going to allow any bases, any sort of action from the Pakistani territory into Afghanistan,” he told "Axios on HBO" in an interview.

In an excerpt of the interview (full interview to be aired Sunday) shared Saturday on Axios website, interviewer Jonathan Swan questions, “Would you allow the American government to have CIA here in Pakistan to conduct crossborder counterterrorism missions against Al-Qaeda ISIS or the Taliban?”

Stunned over his clear-cut response of “absolutely not,” the interviewer interrupted the prime minister asking, “Seriously?” to reconfirm his words.

"Axios on HBO” is a documentary-news programme that combines the reporting of Axios journalists with the expertise of HBO filmmakers to explore the collision of tech, media, business, and politics.

The series has featured interviews with former US president Donald Trump, Sundar Pichai, Elon Musk, Mary Barra, now US President Joe Biden, Andrew Yang and Kamala Harris, among others.

APP adds: Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi Saturday said Pakistan was keen to see both the Afghan peace process and withdrawal of troops advancing in tandem but, in fact, there was a disconnect between the two.

Talking to TRT World during his visit to Antalya, Turkey, he said Pakistan had called for responsible withdrawal besides desiring the peace process to go side by side.

“What I am seeing is that the withdrawal is taking place at a fairly rapid pace but peace process is moving ahead at snail’s pace.

“And that is a bit disconnect over there. And that is of concern to me,” the foreign minister said.

He said he was concerned over the rising level of violence in Afghanistan, which was not just linked to the Taliban, but also to Daesh and other spoilers within Afghanistan, which were perhaps not keen to see peace and stability there.

“They have their own designs and motives. This is a complicated situation. There are internal struggles going on within Afghanistan,” he added.

Qureshi said other conflicts like Jammu and Kashmir were also impeding the economic progress and integration in the region. He said the world was increasingly embroiled in a great competition and confrontation and people were being forced to take sides.

He said the COVID-19 pandemic was still lingering and would obviously leave behind its economic and financial implications which also necessitated the preparedness.

FM Qureshi said Pakistan had been facilitating the peace process and engaging with all regional powers at every forum including Doha process, Istanbul process, Heart of Asia and Moscow format.

He said Pakistan had been engaged constructively for peace and stability in Afghanistan and would continue to do so.

“But this is a shared responsibility. You cannot pass the buck on to Pakistan. Pakistan is one regional player. There are other global players and there are other interests that are paramount in the region,” the foreign minister said.

“So, it has to be a holistic approach and Pakistan will be a partner in peace,” he added.

Separately, Qureshi congratulated Antonio Guterres on his re-appointment as the UN Secretary General for the second five-year term, terming it a manifestation of international community’s confidence in his leadership.

“Many congratulations Antonio Guterres on appointment as UN Secretary General for a second term. This re-election is manifestation of the international community’s confidence in your leadership,” Qureshi said on Twitter.

He said Pakistan would continue to support all of his (Guterres) On Friday, the United Nations General Assembly appointed Antonio Guterres as the world body chief for a second term beginning January 1, 2022.

Also Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Foreign Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs of Kuwait Sheikh Ahmed Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah met on the sidelines of Antalya Diplomacy Forum in Turkey.

The two sides agreed on developing a five-year strategic plan to further enhance bilateral relations, Foreign Office spokesperson said in a press release.

The two sides discussed the entire gamut of bilateral relations and stressed the need for enhanced collaboration on issues of mutual interest at regional and international fora.

Qureshi welcomed the ease of visa restrictions for Pakistani nationals by Kuwait.

“Pakistan accords high priority to its fraternal ties with Kuwait, which are firmly rooted in shared values and commonality of interests in multiple areas,” Qureshi told his counterpart.

Both sides also discussed as to how their countries could cooperate with each other in the area of food security and in advancing multilateral cooperation on relevant fora, particularly in the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD).