Pakistan’s role in Afghan peace process very important: Abdullah
Expects 'practical steps' from stakeholders in peace: Qureshi says negotiated political settlement is the only way to end the conflict
Chairman Afghan High Council for National Reconciliation Dr Abdullah Abdullah on Tuesday lauded Pakistan’s efforts for ensuring peace in Afghanistan, saying the region’s future was linked with working towards a joint vision of prosperity.
Speaking at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) in Pakistan’s federal capital, Dr Abdullah said Afghanistan would focus on capitalizing the opportunity that the recent peace deal inked between the United States and Afghan Taliban.
The Afghan reconciliatory leader stressed that ‘there were no winners in war and no losers in peace’.
In the realms of challenges such as terrorism and coronavirus pandemic, he said, Pakistan and Afghanistan needed to work in close collaboration to overcome the related problems.
He appreciated Pakistan for hosting millions of Afghan refugees for over four decades and endorsed the proposed dignified their return to the homeland.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Pakistan desired sustainable peace in Afghanistan and would continue to extend support in this regard. He said Pakistan’s peace was linked with Afghanistan’s peace and stability, and also of the entire region.
Qureshi said that a negotiated political settlement is the only way to end the conflict in Afghanistan.
Qureshi also said that Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan will soon visit Afghanistan.
He warned that spoilers are in the works to dent the Afghan peace process. “We should be watchful to them,” he added.
In his speech, bdullah Abdullah also said the current opportunity for peace is unique and that he expects practical steps to be taken by all stakeholders in the peace process.
Abdullah said Pakistan played a key role in the start of Afghanistan’s peace negotiations and now it has a more important role in helping to end the process successfully and to stand with the people of Afghanistan.
He reiterated that the time has come to go beyond slogans and old statements and theories and turn a new page. Abdullah said Afghanistan-Pakistan relations are based on mutual respect. He said the current opportunity for peace talks is an important opportunity for the country.
“Considering the current geopolitical context of the region, many new windows of opportunities have opened up. Therefore, more than ever, both countries need to pursue an enhanced level of interaction for a more peaceful and prosperous coexistence,” Abdullah said.
Abdullah reiterated that Afghanistan has changed and that its young, diverse, connected, nation is eager to freely decide its future form of government, corresponding to its unity and diversity.
He also said that Afghans do not want a terrorist footprint in Afghanistan or to allow any entity to pose a threat to any other nation.
“The current talks offer the best hope. To put the war behind us using patience, dialogue and compromise is to agree to unite the country,” he said. Abdullah said, “We cannot achieve our aspirations without support from our people and the region, and the further strengthening of our bilateral relations will help us to achieve peace.”