ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office on Thursday emphasised that all stakeholders of the Afghan conflict were now on the same page with regard to finding a political settlement through a dialogue for ending it.
“I would again emphasise that the point to be registered is that all stakeholders now agree with Pakistan’s position that the final settlement of the Afghan conflict can only be achieved through dialogue,” said FO spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal at his weekly media briefing.
In a major development this week, US President Donald Trump wrote a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan seeking Pakistan’s help for starting peace negotiations between Kabul and Afghan Taliban. Pakistan has positively responded to the US request and renewed its commitment to contribute to the process.
Dr Faisal said there were no preconditions for this cooperation for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.
“I want to clarify that when we negotiate there are no pre-set demands. Both sides give their positions and we try to identify converging areas to move forward. This is diplomacy. It remains our desire that matters may be resolved through dialogue rather than resorting to settlement through the gun,” he asserted.
Ties with India
The spokesman said that progress in Pakistan-India ties could only be achieved if India remained steadfast on the matter.
“We can only move forward if India remains steadfast. India’s reluctance in reciprocating to Pakistan’s proposal is the biggest hurdle in normalisation of relations between the two countries,” said Dr Faisal.
Recalling Prime Minister Khan’s letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in which he proposed the way forward for resolving all outstanding issues between the two countries, he said: “You all know India agreed to our proposal one day, only to renege on their commitment the next day. There is a lack of clarity and will, on the Indian side.”
“They have their domestic elections round the corner which have overtaken their policy. It is India that has to agree to work on the proposals that you just mentioned and to a comprehensive dialogue, in general. No other country is involved in this,” he added.
Published in Dawn, December 7th, 2018