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‘Pakistan paid huge human, economic price because of unstable Afghanistan,’ FM


Syed Umarullah HussainiWeb Editor

25th Apr, 2021. 03:41 pm
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Shah Mahmood

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that the entire region collectively will benefit from the outcome of the Afghan peace process.

According to the details, in an interview with the Turkish media outlet, Shah Mahmood Qureshi underlined the fear of a civil war in Afghanistan, which is the last thing anyone wants, if there is no agreement and political settlement.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the stakes are “very high” in Afghan peace process, if there’s progress, there can be peace, there can be stability, and the region collectively will benefit from the outcome of a peace process.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that ‘Pakistan has paid a huge price because of the unstable environment in Afghanistan. We have paid a huge human price, and we’ve paid a huge economic price. That is why we feel a stable, peaceful Afghanistan is in Pakistan’s national interest.’

Geopolitical competition

Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that ‘Pakistan’s geopolitical location is significant. And we feel Pakistan can take advantage of that situation for generating economic activity and this Economic Corridor that has been built between China and Pakistan, the hub of economic activity.’

He said, ‘We feel with the completion of this flagship project, Pakistan is providing a huge opportunity to landlocked countries like Afghanistan and the Central Asian republics.’

US troops withdrawal from Afghanistan

Speaking about the US troops’ withdrawal from Afghanistan, Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that the process will start on May 1, and they intend to complete the process by Sept. 11, 2021.

He hoped that ‘realizing the new opportunity that has come, the Taliban will remain engaged, and we will certainly try and urge them, to remain engaged and continue with the peace process, the process that started in Doha, should come to a logical conclusion through the Istanbul conference.’

The Foreign Minister added that ‘The Afghans should seize this opportunity, sit amongst themselves and decide what kind of a constitution they want. What kind of a political order do they want? How do they want to negotiate peace for them? We, as neighbors, and outsiders can only help, facilitate. We can’t make decisions, and Pakistan has taken a very clear position that we will respect the decision and the outcome of the negotiations.’

Islamophobia

While responding to the question about Islamophobia, Shah Mahmood Qureshi said, ‘I’m very happy that President Erdogan’s views are very close to the views of Prime Minister Imran Khan on the issue of Islamophobia. I intend to speak to the Indonesian Foreign Minister [Retno Marsudi] soon to seek her advice and opinion, and in the month of Ramadan, when I accompany the Prime Minister [Imran Khan] to Saudi Arabia, I intend to take up this issue with the foreign minister of Saudi Arabia, so that important Muslim countries, build a consensus within the Ummah and then engage with the West, on how to tackle the issue of Islamophobia.’

India – Pakistan relations

Speaking about deteriorating relations between Pakistan and India, Shah Mahmood Qureshi said, ‘Pakistan will be more than happy to engage, sit and talk out our differences and sit and through a dialogue resolve the outstanding issues.’

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