Saturday September 18, 2021

Pakistan has no favourites in Afghanistan: FO

August 03, 2021
Pakistan has no favourites in Afghanistan: FO

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Monday made it abundantly clear it had no favourites in Afghanistan and emphasized that Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s recent comments on the Islamic State (IS) and Afghan Taliban were being "misconstrued".

“It’s regrettable that a certain contingent of the media misquoted and twisted the statement of the foreign minister about the need for peace and stability in Afghanistanthrough an Afghan-owned peace process.

"The foreign minister clearly spoke about consensus among the international community, the regional players and the Afghans themselves against the menace of terrorism. His remarks cannot in any way be misconstrued as advocacy for a particular side in the Afghan conflict,” the Foreign Office said.

On Sunday, Qureshi speaking to the media had given the impression that it was for the Taliban to ensure that the ISIS did not move into Afghanistan and such an assurance had been given by the Taliban themselves.

"We have repeatedly stated that Pakistan has no favourites in Afghanistan. We see all sides in the conflict as Afghans who need to decide about their future themselves. We will continue to play a constructive facilitation role in the Afghan peace process," the Foreign Office repeated.

It stressed that all energies should be focused on finding an "inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive" political settlement to the Afghan conflict. "We have no favourites. There is a general buzz that we are advocates of the Taliban. I am not and I don't represent them, I represent Pakistan. The Taliban are Afghans," the foreign minister had stated earlier.

APP adds: Meanwhile, condemning the remarks of a former Canadian minister, Pakistan has taken up the matter with the Canadian government against the ''motivated and malicious smear campaign'' regarding its efforts for the Afghan peace process.

"The matter has been taken up with the Canadian side," the Foreign Office said in a tweet early Monday. "We have urged the Canadian authorities to take steps to address this motivated and malicious smear campaign. We strongly condemn the unwarranted comments by former Canadian Minister Chris Alexander, making unfounded and misleading assertions about Pakistan’s role in the Afghan peace process," it said.

The Foreign Office said, "Such remarks betray a complete lack of understanding of the issue as well as ignorance of facts on ground". It mentioned that "such gratuitous commentary was deplorable" at the time when the world acknowledged what Pakistan and Prime Minister Imran Khan consistently maintained that there was no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan and also stressed an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement.