ISI chief’s visit to Kabul: Fawad sees ‘unconventional contacts’ objective

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LAHORE: Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry defends the Kabul visit by the director general of the country’s prime intelligenceDirectorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, saying such unconventional contacts are necessary for discussion on various issues at a time when there’s a power vacuum in Afghanistan.

ISI DG Lt-Gen Faiz Hameed is in Kabul and reported by the media as having meetings with the Taliban leadership also as other Afghan leaders including former prime minister Gulbadin Hekmatyar.

“There’s no government in Afghanistan at the present and there’s an influence vacuum there. In such a situation, who should a pacesetter from the political set-up of Pakistan meet there? The prime minister and secretary of state will meet their counterparts [who aren’t there],” the minister told the media here on Sunday.

Unconventional contacts are utilized in such a situation to share concerns, if any, and discuss various affairs, he argued. He said as Pakistan and Afghanistan shared deep strategic, economic, political and social relations, Islamabad couldn’t abandon ordinary Afghans and shut its eyes to the likely impacts to be caused to the country just in case of instability in Kabul.

Negating the impression that the country was following an Afghan policy different from the remainder of the planet , Mr Chaudhry said the sole difference was that Pakistan had been calling for a political solution to the Afghan crisis for years, while the US and other world powers realised the importance of the choice only recently.

Responding to a question , he said forming a government in Kabul was the proper of the Afghan people only and Pakistan supported the thought of an inclusive government there. He said Islamabad could only play a task within the stability of the war-torn country which the new government there would be recognised in consultation with regional countries and world powers.

Answering an issue , the minister said Indian taxpayers and Lok Sabha should question Modi government’s Afghan strategy during which it had wasted billions of dollars in Afghanistan while this amount could are used for the welfare of the marginalised.

He wondered why the Indian government and media were presenting Afghanistan because the biggest issue though the 2 countries shared not one inch of border. He said India couldn’t tend any role in Afghanistan, for it had always used Afghan soil for sponsoring terrorist activities against Pakistan.

Commenting on the domestic political scene, the federal minister criticised the opposition for, what he said, never talking seriously on issues like electoral reforms, electronic voting machines, media authority law and other legislative work.

He regretted that the opposition didn’t nominate its representatives for the committee to be formed under the National Assembly on EVMs for the last three months. Likewise, the opposition was yet to submit its suggestions regarding the names given by the prime minister for appointment of the committee members (from Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces).

Referring to the PML-N, he sarcastically said there would be a weekly add the party to make a decision who would lead the N-League within the next seven days. “If Shehbaz Sharif is leading in the week , Maryam are going to be next week, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi even next and Nawaz Sharif himself within the fourth week,” he said.

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