ISLAMABAD: The first visit recently by the Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Baradar to China has generated great interest in all world capitals with Pakistan welcoming the high level visit saying being a neighbor of Afghanistan, this meeting with the Chinese leadership was to be welcomed.
“We believe China being a neighbouring country to Afghanistan does have an important role to play in the Afghan peace process. Pakistan is a close and brotherly neighbour of Afghanistan, and the only country that has consistently emphasized that there is no military solution to the Afghan conflict,” said the Foreign Office spokesman during the weekly media briefing.
He pointed out that Pakistan had been supporting and facilitating peace process for achieving an inclusive intra-Afghan political settlement.
“All neighbours of Afghanistan, including China, have been supporting political resolution of the Afghan conflict. Pakistan and China are committed to facilitating and supporting “Afghan-led and Afghan-owned” peace and reconciliation process”, he added.
To a query about rhetoric from India about Mullah Baradar’s China visit, the spokesman responded, “Unfortunately, India is among the spoilers of the peace process and this Indian thinking is also reflected by its continued opposition to the Afghan peace process and the efforts being made by the international community in this regard”, he said.
In this regard, Pakistan maintains that it has consistently maintained that at this critical juncture in the Afghan peace process, all energies must be focused on reaching an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement in Afghanistan. Reduction in violence leading to ceasefire is particularly significant in this regard.
“Pakistan has no intention to downgrade diplomatic relations with Afghanistan despite the recent case of the daughter of the Afghan ambassador, which compelled Kabul to recall its ambassador and other senior diplomats from Islamabad,” he said.
“Regarding the possibility of the downgrading of diplomatic relations with Afghanistan, Pakistan believes in maintaining close, cooperative and brotherly relations with Afghanistan. There is no plan to downgrade our diplomatic relations with Afghanistan”, the spokesman responded.
Regarding the reported abduction of Afghan ambassador’s daughter, he said a thorough investigation was. Over 700 hours of video footage from over 300 CCTV cameras was examined. More than 200 witnesses were interviewed by the security personnel.
“While a significant progress has been made in this case, we believe that the cooperation of Afghan ambassador and his daughter is critical in concluding the investigation”, he said.
Negative statements by some elements, who are not representative of the people of Afghanistan, the spokesman pointed out, cannot be allowed to adversely impact this important relationship particularly at this critical juncture of the ongoing Afghan peace process.
“Pakistan has taken up several times with the Chinese government the issue of providing visas to its students and it was also raised by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi during his recent visit to China for the Third Session of the Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue between China and Pakistan. We hope that the two sides will be able to resolve this issue,” said the spokesman but without providing details why the Chinese side was reluctant to move forward on this.
The spokesman shrugged aside the issue of 4000,000 Pakistani workers unable to return to work in Saudi Arabia.
The spokesman once again condemned the use of spyware by India, which also saw the phone set of Prime Minister Imran Khan to be spied upon and said Pakistan will soon raise this issue on all available international fora.
India itself has as yet not called for any inquiry into the matter in which a big number of high-profile Indian personalities also had their phone sets spied upon.
“Communication security in the Foreign Office is a consistent effort and a constant process. We keep tracking the emerging challenge and take the necessary measures to further enhance the organization’s cyber security”, said the spokesman.
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