- Foreign minister says Pakistan has been holding the stance that Afghan issue could not be resolved through use of force
- Pakistan has sincerely played its reconciliatory role in Afghan peace process as a shared responsibility, and it will continue doing so: Qureshi
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said Pakistan desires there should be reduction in violence in Afghanistan to bolster hopes for a peace agreement. He added that Pakistan has sincerely played its reconciliatory role in Afghan peace process as a shared responsibility, and it will continue doing so.
Speaking to media after a meeting with Taliban delegation in Islamabad on Wednesday, the foreign minister said that dialogue is the only option for successful initiation of the intra-Afghan talks. "Pakistan has been holding the stance that Afghan issue could not be resolved through use of force."
He maintained that holding of these negotiations is an important milestone in establishing peace in Afghanistan. Qureshi called the negotiations a golden opportunity for the Afghan leadership to pave the way for durable peace in Afghanistan.
He said that durable peace in Afghanistan is in Pakistan's interest. He pointed out that Pakistan had walked along-side in every possible way, by encouraging reduction in violence and by urging dialogue and negotiations.
He said Pakistan wishes for "agreement on rules regarding intra-Afghan talks so it can pursue, multilateral brotherhood with Afghanistan.
"We have announced 1,000 new scholarships for skilled Afghan students so that these students can help in the development of Afghanistan," Qureshi said.
The FM said there are deep trade ties between Pakistan and Afghanistan and Gwadar Port can be helpful in this regard. "We want to make trade agreements more active to promote bilateral trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan. We don't want the land of Afghanistan to be used against Pakistan," he remarked.
Meanwhile, the head of the Taliban delegation, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, praised Pakistan's active role in brining peace to Afghanistan and extended his gratitude for the warm welcome.
Earlier, Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation Chairman Dr Abdullah Abdullah visited Pakistan and appreciated Pakistan’s efforts with regards to the Afghan peace process. He praised Pakistan’s recent string of confidence-building measures as the Afghan government and the Taliban try to finalise a peace deal.
Relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan have long been rocky. But Abdullah said that there was a need for going “beyond the rhetoric and the usual blame game”, because no one could afford to pursue dissolution.
In February this year, a deal was struck between the United States and the Taliban in which it was agreed that 5,000 Taliban prisoners will be released from Afghan prisons before peace talks between the militant group and the government.
On August 10, Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani issued a decree to release the final batch of prisoners demanded by the Taliban as a condition to move to peace talks.
Later, the Afghan government released the remaining Taliban prisoners, kicking of intra-Afghan peace talks.