QUETTA, Aug 23: Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Maulana Fazlur Rehman has said that India’s “extraordinary activities” in Afghanistan are a threat for Pakistan’s western borders and urged Afghanistan to recognise the Durand Line and resolve the dispute over the issue between the neighbouring Muslim states.

He said that confidence-building measures (CBMs) between Pakistan and India were entirely in favour of the latter which wanted to keep the Kashmir issue in cold storage.

Addressing members of the Balochistan Bar Association here on Thursday, he said the flawed foreign policy of the Musharraf government provided an opportunity to India to consign the Kashmir issue to the backburner. Calm on the eastern border, he said, was in the interest of India and enabled it to exploit tensions between Pakistan and Afghanistan on the western border.

The president of the bar, Baz Muhammad Khan Kakar, presided over the meeting.

In the speech, Maulana Fazl dealt mostly with foreign policy issues and said that Pakistan must base its foreign policy on the aspirations of the people and protect its national interests instead of promoting the US agenda which was causing unrest in the country. The Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal leader asserted that Pakistan would not be isolated at the international level if it distanced itself from the United States.

He called for improving relations with China and Russia and maintaining balance in relations with foreign powers.

He said that the United States was opposed to Chinese investments in Gwadar and the attacks on Chinese engineers in Balochistan were the result of US frustrations.

Maulana Fazl said the United States provided financial support and weapons to Jihadi groups when the former Soviet Union occupied Afghanistan because it wanted to destabilise the Communist government in Moscow. At that time the US administration described Afghan Mujahideen as “freedom fighter”, but now the same Jihadis were being termed extremists and terrorists.

The MMA leader said: ‘‘We were not against the Pak-Afghan peace Jirga for stopping the bloodshed in Afghanistan to peaceful means. But we differed on the mechanism and the vague agenda of the Jirga’’. He said that while the Jirga declaration said that Pakistan and Afghanistan would work jointly to eradicate Al Qaeda and the Taliban it also formed a 50-member committee for talks with the Taliban.

The Maulana said: ‘‘We have been saying from day one that the US-led occupation forces in Afghanistan must recognise that the Taliban were the main party in the Afghan conflict and without talking to them the United States and Nato could not succeed in restoring normality in the war torn country.’’

Referring to the domestic situation, the MMA leader said that opposition parties remained worried in the past about judicial verdicts on extra-constitutional steps taken by military rulers and courts endorsed their unconstitutional steps. But the July 20 judgment reinstating the Chief Justice of Pakistan and the independence of judiciary have given the government a scare.

He said the army was the most organised institution in the country, but did not like other institutions to play their role independently within the ambit of the Constitution and the law, adding that the army had been trying to undermine other institutions in order to remain at the helm.

He lauded the struggle of lawyers against the suspension of the Chief Justice and urged the community to continue the struggle till the people got rid of the dictatorship.

Justifying the 17th Amendment to the Constitution, he said the objective of the agreement with the government was to provide an exit to the military dictator, but now a political party was working for a deal to get a safe passage to the corridors of power.

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