MULTAN: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Sunday that the Taliban were ready for negotiations and Pakistan was playing the role of a mediator for restoration of peace in Afghanistan.
Talking to reporters, he said Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had some reservations over negotiations with the Taliban which had been removed by Pakistan.
When Dawn contacted Mr Qureshi for his comment on a Taliban spokesman’s statement rejecting talks with the Afghan government, he said the Taliban were ready for talks with Islamabad and that’s what he meant to say earlier in the day.
The minister said the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to the United States had given new dimensions to the US-Pakistan relations and its positive effects have started to show.
“The entire world has witnessed improvement in relations between Pakistan and the US during the last 11 months and now there is a change in the attitude and thinking [of the US]. We did not go to the US to beg something rather we have exposed the enemies of peace before the US and the entire world. Earlier, Pakistan was being blamed for the situation in Afghanistan,” he said.
He said Prime Minister Khan had been advocating for a long time that there was no other way than talks to find a peaceful solution and today the US, Russia, China, Europe and the entire Muslim world had endorsed this stand. Mr Qureshi, however, regretted that some forces were against peace in Pakistan and Afghanistan. “Soon we will expose these forces,” he said, adding that in the prevailing situation the support of the nation was required.
“Pakistan Army is the best army of the world. Yesterday 10 army men sacrificed their lives for our security and we pay homage to them. Because of the sacrifices rendered and steps taken by the army peace has been restored in North Waziristan and other areas. Now the writ of the state has been established while development works have been started there and normality is returning,” he said.
He said the PTI government had enhanced the respect of the country across the world. “Today you can see where the country is standing in connection with foreign affairs,” he said.
Published in Dawn, July 29th, 2019