UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan has pledged its full support to Afghanistan in improving the deteriorating security situation there, but urges that Afghanistan must “put their house in order”, a senior Pakistani diplomat told the United Nations (UN) Security Council during a debate on the Afghan situation.
“Peace in Afghanistan was vital for peace in the region and beyond,” said Nabeel Munir, deputy permanent representative of Pakistan to the UN.
He stressed that it was Afghan themselves who must “put their house in order”. There was clear consensus that use of force alone might not achieve peace, he added.
"Robust and meaningful reconciliation, if seriously pursued, is the only way to achieve that goal," he said, adding that it was in this spirit that Pakistan facilitated direct talks between the Afghan Government and the Taliban.
"Islamabad stands ready to play that role again," Munir promised. “No one should cast aspersions on Pakistan's sincerity.” Munir was referencing some negative remarks from the representative of Afghanistan.
After Afghanistan, the senior diplomat continued, Pakistan and its people have suffered the most from the 35 years of wars, violence and terrorism in Afghanistan. “Pakistan is the primary victim of terrorism," he said.
Munir also stated that Pakistan had targeted all terrorist groups and made substantial progress in cleansing itself of their activities.
However, he felt that in order to accomplish the objective of peace, terrorist sanctuaries and safe havens in Afghanistan must be eliminated. These sanctuaries house militants who flee into Afghanistan, seeking refuge from Pakistan's military operations.
“We cannot allow targeting of our people by cross border attacks launched from these safe havens,” Munir asserted. He said that when Pakistan had carried out counter-terrorism efforts in North Waziristan, it had requested help from Kabul, but that cooperation was still missing.
“We cannot do diplomacy through statements,” he pointed out, adding that differences must be resolved through dialogue.
At the 'Heart of Asia' conference last month, the Islamabad Declaration paved the way for a peaceful region, Munir told the 15-member council. Among other things, it committed parties to return Afghan refugees to their homeland with dignity.
"Pakistan is also considering an extension of the Tripartite Agreement with a clear road map," he announced. Additionally, the building of the Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India Pipeline would create tens of thousands of jobs in Afghanistan, representing the kind of activities that should be the region's focus.
“We sincerely hope that working together the two countries would, fulfilling the expectations of their people, cooperate closely to defeat all terrorists and establish lasting peace in the region," Munir said.