ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office avoided on Thursday giving its reaction to allegations levelled by outgoing Afghan President Hamid Karzai against Pakistan and said the government looked forward to working with new President Ashraf Ghani.
“There will be a new government in Afghanistan shortly and we look forward to working with them closely,” spokesperson Tasnim Aslam said at FO’s weekly news briefing.
The comment appeared to be an attempt to put the acrimonious past behind in ties with Afghanistan as the political transition in Kabul gets under way.
Know more: Karzai slams US, Pakistan in farewell speech
In his farewell speech, Mr Karzai said he had visited Pakistan 20 times in an attempt to reach a negotiated settlement with Taliban, but his efforts were thwarted. He accused Pakistan of trying to control Afghanistan’s foreign policy.
Allegations and counter-allegations, because of deep-rooted mistrust between the two countries, are not new.
However, with new government taking office on Monday Pakistan intends to use the opportunity to turn the page in ties.
“Pakistan and Afghanistan are neighbours. We face common challenges and we have to confront them and find solutions for them jointly through collaboration,” the spokesperson said.
Pakistan will use its contacts with the new government to attempt to rebuild the frayed “bilateral relations and resolve the issues of sanctuaries of terrorists inside Afghanistan and cross-border attacks”.
INDIA: The FO spokesperson confirmed that there was no planned meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in New York. “We have not sought a meeting and we have not received any request,” she added.
The two countries looked close to a rapprochement after a year and half of border tensions, which badly strained their tense relationship, when Prime Minister Sharif visited Delhi for attending the oath-taking ceremony of Mr Modi.
In their meeting, the two leaders had agreed on a meeting of the foreign secretaries for which a date was also fixed later. But days before the planned Aug 25 meeting of the secretaries in Islamabad, India cancelled it on the pretext that the Pakistani high commissioner in New Delhi had met Kashmiri Hurriyat leaders.
About any proposal for reconvening the cancelled meeting, the spokesperson said: “We did not cancel the talks so it is up to India now to indicate how it wants to proceed.”
She said Pakistan would focus on disputes between the two countries, including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir, so that a peaceful solution could be found through dialogue. “Our efforts are not lacking in any way.”
Published in Dawn, September 26th, 2014