- Foreign minister says to build on the gains of the last 20 years the Afghan economy needs to get support
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has urged the international community to continue being magnanimous to ensure Afghanistan's economy does not collapse and a humanitarian crisis is averted, stressing that there should be no strings or political conditions attached in this matter.
Addressing a joint press conference in Islamabad with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, on Thursday, Qureshi said that if the international community is not ready to offer immediate economic assistance, it should not take steps that result in the collapse of the Afghan economy.
The international community cannot expect to build on the gains of the last 20 years if the Afghan economy does not receive support, he added.
"Afghanistan's assets, which are being frozen internationally, should be released," he said. "Let Afghan people utilise their money as it would be a very welcome development."
Talking about Pakistan and Qatar's bilateral ties, the foreign minister said that we are working to transform this "excellent and brotherly relationship".
Qureshi during his remarks added that he has also formally requested Qatar's Deputy Prime Minister to relax the Covid-19 related restrictions for Pakistani travelers. "I have made a formal request to allow vaccinated people of Pakistan who travel to Qatar to quarantine at homes instead of hotels."
Commenting on Pakistan's role in Afghanistan, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani acknowledged Pakistan's efforts in not only supporting the peace process in Afghanistan but also supporting Qatar's mediation and facilitation efforts.
"I think Pakistan has played a leadership role in helping Afghanistan," he said, adding that this is also reflected in Qatar and Pakistan's common vision of having a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.
"We see eye to eye in our positions in current developments in Afghanistan and desire to see stability as soon as possible."
He added that humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan should be independent of any political progress. "Afghan people deserve to be supported despite what is happening at the political landscape," he emphasised.
He also told the Taliban to ensure that their government is inclusive and brings all Afghans together. “We encourage Taliban to be more inclusive and bring all Afghans under one umbrella and build a prosperous Afghanistan. We will be supportive of this progress."
Earlier today, Qatar's foreign minister also met Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad.
During the meeting, both leaders exchanged views on the developments in Afghanistan and diversifying Pakistan-Qatar relations.
During the meeting, Khan conveyed warm regards to His Highness Amir of Qatar.
Highlighting that Pakistan had suffered enormously due to the protracted conflict in Afghanistan, PM Khan underscored the importance of a peaceful, secure and stable region.
"On the evolving situation in Afghanistan, the Prime Minister emphasised that it was vital to stabilise the security situation, prevent a humanitarian crisis, and stabilise the economy," a statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office said.
Khan said that Pakistan has and will continue to play its role for the economic uplift, humanitarian relief and assistance to Afghanistan.
Khan also lauded Qatar’s role in support of the Afghan peace process.
In the bilateral context, the premier reaffirmed Pakistan’s desire to strengthen mutually beneficial ties with Qatar. "He stressed the importance of enhanced collaboration in diverse areas, including trade and investments, energy, and enhancing people-to-people linkages," the statement added.
Earlier in the day, Pakistan's Foreign Office (FO) said that "Qatar is home to more than 200,000 hard working Pakistani expatriates contributing to national development and economic progress of both countries."
In the weeks since the Taliban swept into power, more than 58,000 of the 124,000 Western citizens and at-risk Afghans who were airlifted out of Afghanistan flew through Qatar.