Pakistan against India’s security role in Afghanistan

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Islamabad, March 6 (IANS) Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday told the Senate that Pakistan neither desires “any security role of India in Afghanistan” nor wants presence of militant organisations – Al-Qaeda and ISIS – in the landlocked country, a media report said.

Briefing the Upper House on the February 29 peace deal between US and Taliban, the Foreign Minister told the house that India had always played role of a spoiler. “There were spoilers in the past and they are even today, within and outside Afghanistan, who want to get their own objectives.”

Pakistan doesn’t want that footprints of Al-Qaeda and Daesh or ISIS grow in Afghanistan because their presence would disrupt peace in the region, the minister said in a policy statement in the house.

Talking about the joint declaration issued by US and Afghan government in Kabul the same day when peace agreement was signed, and the former’s offer to the latter to help address its misunderstandings with Pakistan, Qureshi said that Pakistan wanted to resolve all issues with Afghanistan bilaterally.

“The third force cannot find a way out for us,” he said adding that this would be a preferred option for Pakistan.

Reiterating that Pakistan was never part of the peace talks and their role “has always been and will always be” that of a facilitator, the minister said Pakistan cannot give guarantee or take responsibility to peace in Afghanistan. “This is a shared responsibility, and all (stakeholders) will have to play their role. There are many powers, interests and motives (involved),” he added.

He said that the true test of the Afghan leadership begins now as Afghan people want peace. “Can they rise to the occasion and chart a peaceful way forward or not, only time will tell.” He added that Pakistan would not be able to bear influx of more refugees if Afghanistan witnessed instability. “If violence erupts in the neighbouring country, there will be a spillover of it in Pakistan.”

Highlighting the Pakistan’s objectives to bring peace in the war-torn country, the Foreign Minister argued that Pakistan wishes secure and regulated border with Afghanistan but would never want joint operations. We also wish to see safe and respectful return of Afghan refugees and want to remove a negative perception about Pakistan present in the minds of a certain faction in Afghanistan, he said adding that Pakistan would engage with such people.

“There were some forces in the past and there are present today who are sceptic about the deal,” the foreign minister said adding that some people in Afghanistan and US understand that the effort will be futile. He explained if peace prevails in Afghanistan, it has a dividend with having positive effect on Pakistan who will getting opportunities to enhance regional connectivity and restart its stalled projects with central Asian states. Similarly, landlocked countries would get trade route through Gwadar Port and the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Project would benefit from this.

–IANS

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