- Members of the interim set-up of the Taliban are expected to take the oath on September 11
Islamabad: The Foreign Office (FO) said, Friday that Taliban have not officially extended any invitation to Pakistan as yet to participate in the oath-taking ceremony of its members of the interim set-up. Speaking at his weekly media briefing, FO spokesperson Asim Iftikhar Ahmad said: "We have seen reports of the expected oath taking ceremony on Saturday."
"There has been no official invitation received so far for [Pakistan's] participation in the [oath-taking] ceremony," the spokesperson said, in response to a question about the level of Pakistan's participation in the oath-taking ceremony of the new interim set-up of the Taliban.
Reports claimed that the members of the interim set-up of the Taliban are expected to take the oath on September 11 (today), a day which also marks the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in the US in 2001.
The spokesperson also categorically rejected allegations as mischievous propaganda campaign with regard to Pakistan's alleged involvement in the recent Panjshir skirmishes between the Taliban and the forces loyal to Ahmad Massoud.
"These allegations are part of a mischievous propaganda campaign, led by Indian media's fake news that has been thoroughly exposed. These malicious allegations were part of a desperate attempt to malign Pakistan and to mislead the international community. But they will not succeed. Pakistan has repeatedly alerted the international community about the negative and harmful role of such spoilers," he added.
"Right now all energies must be focused on ensuring lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan. That requires continued positive engagement of the international community," he reiterated.
He said that Pakistan continues to closely follow the evolving situation in Afghanistan, adding: "We have noted the latest announcement about formation of interim political set-up in Kabul, which would address the requirement of a governance structure to meet the urgent needs of the people of Afghanistan."
"We hope that the new political dispensation will ensure coordinated efforts for peace, security and stability in Afghanistan as well as work towards taking care of humanitarian and development needs of the Afghan people," he said.
To a question, he said that Indian had been acting as a spoiler in the Afghan peace process, adding that India also misled the international community with regard to the capacity of the Ghani government.
He said that India had been active in Afghanistan for creating terror infrastructure to destabilise Pakistan in the garb of development works in the neighbouring country.
To another query about the incidents of torture and arrest of journalists by the Taliban, he said that the reports have not yet come from the verified accounts, adding that there are certain outlets engage in propaganda campaign.
However, he stated that if true, such reports are a source of concern.
The spokesperson also reaffirmed Pakistan's abiding commitment to a peaceful, stable, sovereign and prosperous Afghanistan.
In pursuance of this position and in continuation of our constructive role and engagement, primarily keeping the interest of the Afghan people upfront, he added that the government of Pakistan has decided to dispatch humanitarian assistance comprising food and medicines for the people of Afghanistan.
He said that first flight carrying such assistance reached Kabul on Thursday, and another in Kandahar on Friday, while another flight is expected soon.
Further supplies would continue through land routes, he said, adding that this is a practical manifestation of our commitment to assist our Afghan brothers and sisters.
"We also expect the international community would play its due role in helping address the urgent needs of the Afghan people in order to avert a humanitarian crisis," he added. He said that Pakistan's diplomatic missions in Afghanistan continue to function.
In the days leading up to the completion of the US military withdrawal from Afghanistan, he added that Pakistan provided critical support to the multinational evacuation effort from Afghanistan both from Kabul airport, and across the land border.
He said that Pakistan has continued proactive diplomacy in recent weeks, interacting with a host of partners in the region and beyond, adding that the objective of the interaction is to exchange views and coordinate positions on the best way forward to help ensure sustainable peace and stability in Afghanistan, which is a shared objective of the international community.He pointed out Prime Minister Imran Khan has spoken to 13 world leaders since August 15, the most recent interactions being with the Emir of Qatar, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, and the Crown Prince of UAE, besides the UN secretary general.
He added that Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has had 25 telephonic conversations with his counterparts since 15 August.
This includes foreign ministers of Austria, Slovenia, Iran, Poland, and Romania, and the Kenyan Defence Minister since my last briefing, he added.
He said that the country also had six visits of foreign ministers in recent days including by Germany, Dutch, British, Italian, Qatar, and the Spanish FM earlier in the day.
"These visits provided an opportunity to renew bilateral contacts, and coordinate positions on regional issues," he said, adding that Pakistan's support for evacuation efforts and overall constructive role on Afghanistan - as a key stabilising and positive factor - were appreciated during these interactions.
"A particular focus of our diplomatic outreach and engagement has been with the neighbouring countries of Afghanistan, who naturally have important stakes in the situation and a common desire for a peaceful and stable Afghanistan," he added.
He added that as the situation in Afghanistan is at a critical juncture, and responsible members of the international community are engaged in deliberating the best way forward, it is extremely deplorable that certain spoilers and detractors, the same known actors, remain busy in peddling false narratives and disinformation, which by the way already stood busted and discredited by various sources.
About the situation in the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir, he said that Pakistan condemns in the strongest possible terms, Indian occupation forces' continued harassment of Syed Ali Geelani's family, adding that the registration of cases against the grieving family members of the iconic Kashmiri leader is yet another reprehensible act by the Indian occupation forces.
It contravenes all standards of morality and ethics, he added.
He said that Pakistan will continue to sensitise and inform the international community about the dire state of human rights in the IIOJK resulting from India's war crimes and systematic persecution and violation of human rights of the Kashmiri people.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021