Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday hit back at Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s claims about Pakistan’s “negative role” within the Afghan social process , adding that it had been “unfair” responsible the country for things in Afghanistan.
The prime minister made the comments at the international conference on “Central and South Asia Regional Connectivity: Challenges and Opportunities” during his two-day visit to Uzbekistan. The Afghan president was also present at the conference.
“President Ghani let me just say that the country which will be most suffering from turmoil in Afghanistan is Pakistan. Pakistan suffered 70,000 casualties within the last 15 years. The last item Pakistan wants is more conflict,” the premier said as he stopped reading from his written speech.
He also said that the Taliban was not willing to compromise after us gave a date for the withdrawal of troops.
“When there have been 150,000 Nato troops […] that was the time to ask the Taliban to return to the table. Why were the Taliban getting to compromise once the exit date was given […] why would they hear us once they are sensing victory” the prime minister questioned.
The premier said that Pakistan’s economy was finally recovering after browsing a difficult phase. “I repeat, the last item we would like is turbulence in Afghanistan.”
PM Imran stated that no country has tried harder than Pakistan to bring the Taliban to the table for dialogue. “We have made every effort, in need of taking action against the Taliban in Pakistan, to urge them on the dialogue table and to possess a peaceful settlement [in Afghanistan].
“To blame Pakistan for what’s happening in Afghanistan is extremely unfair.”
He said that he wouldn’t have visited Kabul in November last year if Pakistan wasn’t curious about peace. “The whole idea was to seem upon Pakistan as a partner in peace. I feel disappointed that we’ve been blamed for what’s happening in Afghanistan”.
He said that the present situation in Afghanistan was a results of over 20 years of conflict and therefore the US seeking a military solution.
He said that he had a conversation with Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev about how all the neighbors within the region can help the Afghan social process. “It is altogether of our interests.”
He said that there have been already three million refugees in Afghanistan.
“We are petrified that there’ll be another influx of refugees and that we don’t have the capacity or the economic strength to touch it. So I can assure you again, if any country is trying its best out, it’s Pakistan.”
Pakistan hosts Afghan peace conference from tomorrow
The prime minister’s comments come each day before Pakistan is thanks to hosting a three-day conference on Afghanistan to offer a fresh impetus to the efforts for peace.
“Pakistan is hosting the Afghan Peace Conference on July 17-19 […] to supply momentum to the continued efforts for peace in Afghanistan,” ministry Spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said at the weekly media briefing.
Afghanistan’s political leadership has been invited to the conference.
According to Tolo News, 21 prominent Afghan leaders including Abdullah Abdullah, Karim Khalili, Mohammad Younus Qanooni, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Mohammad Hanif Atmar, Salahuddin Rabbani, Ismail Khan, Ata Mohammad Noor, Sayed Hamed Gailani, Sayed Eshaq Gailani, Batur Dostum, and Mirwais Yasini are invited to the conference in Islamabad.
Chaudhri said a variety of them have already confirmed their participation. Taliban, the spokesman had clarified, weren’t among the invitees as that they had already visited Pakistan repeatedly and held detailed discussions on the social process.
“The aim of the forthcoming peace conference is to interact with and consult all sides on the Afghan social process. We hope that this conference will provide impetus to the continued efforts for peace in Afghanistan,” the spokesman said while explaining the target of the conference,” FO spokesman said.