India's cooperation needed to resolve Afghan conflict, says FM Qureshi

Updated December 10, 2018

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Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi speaks in the National Assembly on Monday. — DawnNewsTV
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi speaks in the National Assembly on Monday. — DawnNewsTV

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Monday that although Pakistan was committed to facilitate a negotiated end to the 17-year-old Afghan war, it could not do the task alone and that other regional countries, including India, needed to play their part.

Speaking on a point of order in the National Assembly, he said Pakistan alone could not bring peace in Afghanistan as it was a "shared responsibility" of regional countries including India, Iran, Tajikistan and China.

"Since India is present in Afghanistan, its cooperation in this regard will also be required," said Qureshi.

Also read: Pakistanis helped trace Osama’s whereabouts, US told

The foreign minister informed the lower house that a number of meetings for peace in Afghanistan had already taken place in Doha (Qatar) and the United Arab Emirates.

He said US president Donald Trump in a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan had asked Pakistan to help and facilitate the peace process in Afghanistan which he said Pakistan was already doing. The US special envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, had also visited Pakistan thrice in this regard, he noted.

Qureshi said when Prime Minister Khan was in the opposition, he (Khan) used to say that there was no military solution to the Afghanistan conflict.

Today, he said, there was a convergence of opinion after more than 15 years that Afghanistan needed a political settlement.

"All the stakeholders, including the United States, Afghanistan and the Taliban, are on board," he said.

Speaking about relations with India, the foreign minister expressed the hope that New Delhi will reciprocate Pakistan's goodwill gesture of taking the initiative to open the Kartarpur corridor for Indian Sikh pilgrims.

Qureshi said the opening of the Kartarpur border on Pakistan's side had created goodwill for the country at the international level.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government of India "unwillingly" had to accept the Pakistani offer to open the corridor and they later approved it through a resolution in a cabinet meeting.

Change in narrative on OBL

Earlier, Maulana Abdul Wasay of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) recalled that in response to the US president's recent tirade against Pakistan, the government had stated that Pakistan had helped the US in tracing Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

He said Islamabad's previous stance was that the country's security and intelligence agencies were not aware of bin Laden's presence in Pakistan and the US military operation in Abbottabad which killed him.

Wasay claimed that the latest statement of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government showed that they (security agencies) were not only aware of bin Laden's whereabouts but also provided intelligence to Washington and facilitated the US raid in Pakistan.

"This statement has created doubts in the minds of the people of Pakistan," he added.

The JUI-F leader said previous rulers used to say that Pakistan was fighting its own war against terrorism but now it was being said that it was not our own war.

"If the present policy is correct then who is responsible for the killings of thousands of people, including security personnel, civilians and politicians," he questioned.

Foreign Minister Qureshi welcomed the JUI-F MNA's proposal that the parliament should have a full-fledged debate on the country's foreign policy.

Meanwhile, the NA unanimously passed a resolution in connection with the International Human Rights Day, reaffirming the lower house's "commitment to the undeniable rights of every individual".

The resolution, which was presented by Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari, called upon the government to ensure the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution for all citizens.