No favourites in Afghanistan: PM Khan

Web DeskWeb Editor

29th Jul, 2021. 01:33 pm

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday made it clear that Pakistan has no favourites in Afghanistan and that the country is not following the policy of strategic depth any more.

Interacting with the Afghan media representatives in Islamabad, the premier categorically said what the Taliban are doing has nothing to do with Pakistan.

“Pakistan is not responsible for their [Taliban’s] actions,” PM Khan reaffirmed.

He reiterated there was no military solution to the Afghan conflict and stressed that an inclusive government is the only solution for peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Prime Minister Khan said that he recently visited Afghanistan and he had good relations with President Ashraf Ghani.

He, however, said that the recent statements from Afghan leaders blaming Pakistan for Afghan crisis was unfortunate because it was Pakistan, which strived hard to convince the Taliban first for talks with the United States and then with the Afghan government.

“No country has tried as hard as Pakistan to bring the Taliban to the negotiations table,” he told the Afghan media.

The premier cautioned that in the case of a civil war in Afghanistan, it will spill over to Pakistan’s tribal areas.

“This is the last thing we want, as Pakistan had already lost 70,000 people in the war on terrorism,” he added.

Besides Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry, Minister of State Farrukh Habib, Special Assistant to PM Dr Shahbaz Gill, Senator Faisal Javed and senior officials, the meeting was attended by journalists, editors, filmmakers, businessmen, industrialists and defence analysts from Afghanistan.

The prime minister said Pakistan already hosts three million Afghan refugees and given its economic conditions, the country cannot afford to have another influx of refugees.

Responding to a question, he apprised the Afghan media that Pakistan has built a fence along the border with Afghanistan at a huge cost to stop outflow and inflow into Pakistan, 90 per cent of which has completed.

He also said Pakistan wants peace in Afghanistan to access the Central Asian countries.

“We had already signed an agreement with Uzbekistan for a railway line from Mazar-e-Sharif to Peshawar, which will reach Pakistan via Afghanistan,” he added.

When asked about the future relationship with Afghanistan, Prime Minister Khan expressed confidence that once the situation calms down, the countries will have the best of relationship.

“This relationship will get stronger with each passing year. Both countries need each other and it will be a mutually beneficial relationship,” he said.

To a question about the promotion of sports in Afghanistan, especially cricket, the prime minister said that no country in the history of cricket but Afghanistan had achieved so much progress in a short period of time.

The position at which Afghanistan stood at the moment in cricket had been realised by other countries in 70 years, he said, adding that the main reason behind this success was learning of the game by the Afghan refugees in Pakistan, which was appreciable.

To another question, he said unfortunately there was a misconception in Afghanistan, which was based on the Indian propaganda, that Pakistan was controlled by military institutions.

Imran said that his foreign policy was based on his party’s 25 years of manifesto, adding that he had a consistent view that there was no military solution of the Afghan conflict, which could only be resolved through political means.

Being the party head for the last 15 years, as well as being a head of the government for the last three years, he had the same stance on Afghanistan and military institutions were fully supportive of the government’s view.

Speaking about India, the premier said New Delhi took away the statehood of the Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir through illegal steps of August 5, 2019, adding that there are UN resolutions, which accept the right to self-determination for the Kashmiri people.

“We will not sit with India until it restores the statehood of the disputed territory,” the prime minister said.

The prime minister regretted that India today is being controlled by the RSS ideology, which is anti-Pakistan and anti-Muslims.

Such actions were the main hurdles in the way of peace with India, he added.

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