ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Tuesday welcomed the reports that President Joe Biden wants to keep Trump’s Afghan envoy Zalmay Khalilzad on job, saying it reflects that new US administration is serious about resolving Afghan conflict through talks.

Talking to the media outside the Parliament House, he said there is no military solution to the Afghan conflict as it can only be resolved through talks, which the new US administration is also aware of.

“The new US admin wants to reduce violence in Afghanistan and so do us [Pakistan]…the new US government priorities with regard to Afghanistan is in conformity with our stance on the issue,” he added.

Qureshi said he had sent a missive to his new US counterpart and informed him about the viewpoint of Pakistan on Afghanistan situation, adding the region has witnessed drastic changes during the last four years.

A ray of hope has arisen after 40 years, he said, adding, “I want to make it clear that we would be with new US administration in its efforts for peace in the region”.

At the same time, he said restoration of peace in Afghanistan is a joint responsibility and the entire burden should not be put on Pakistan alone.

He said that the real solution of the issues still lies with the Afghan leadership, as it is their country.

To a question about reports of handpicking a recently retired military general Lt-Gen Bilal Akbar as ambassador of Pakistan to Saudi Arabia, he said 80 percent officials at Pakistani embassies around the world come from the Foreign Service of Pakistan, while the remaining 20pc are selected from different backgrounds.

About Broadsheet controversy, he said there should be a thorough probe into the matter to expose those involved in signing the agreement with the foreign company.

In an obvious reference to the then military ruler Gen Musharraf’s agreement with Broadsheet to collect evidence against Sharif family’s alleged corruption in properties and cash stashed abroad back in 1999, he said that it’s not the fault of the PTI.

About the ongoing protests by the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), he said the PPP is making excuses for ‘appropriate time’ to quit the assemblies, and that appropriate time is not going to come until 2023, when the government will complete its five-year term.

He continued that the PPP could not take such a bold decision to quit assemblies as it cannot afford it, which is evident from Umerkot by-polls, where PPP misused state machinery to rig the polls.

He said there are serious differences between PPP and PML-N over bringing a no confidence motion against the prime minister, adding, if the opposition proceeds with the no confidence motion, we are ready to face them.

The minister plainly said the PDM is no threat to the government, as their agenda to get an NRO [National Reconciliation Ordinance] to get rid of their corruption cases is no privy to us all when they put forth their 34-point amendment to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Ordinance.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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