QUETTA: Veteran politician and founder of the ruling Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) Senator Saeed Ahmed Hashmi has expressed serious concern over the situation emerging in the region against the backdrop of withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan.

Speaking to the media late on Tuesday, he said that Pakistan as a neighbour to Afghanistan would also be affected badly if a strategy and narrative with consensus was not adopted to deal with the situation.

Mr Hashmi said that the departure of US and Nato forces would create a big security gap as both the Afghan government and Afghan Taliban were reluctant to reach a political solution for sharing power before complete withdrawal of foreign forces.

“If a permanent political solution of sharing power between the Taliban and Afghan government is not reached before exit of foreign troops a civil war cannot be ruled out between various groups for capturing power in Afghanistan,” Senator Hashmi said, adding that in case of such a situation Pakistan once again would face influx of large numbers of Afghan refugees, which would be a big burden on already fragile economy of the country.

He said that the presence of anti-Pakistan elements in Afghanistan and their relations with and support from top officials of Afghanistan’s National Dir­ectorate of Security, security advisers and other hostile agencies could not be ignored as they could also become active against Pakistan.

“These security apprehensions could not be ruled out for Pakistan,” he said.

The BAP founder said that Pakistan was making all out efforts for a political settlement between the Afghan government and Taliban for restoring peace as a peaceful Afghanistan was necessary for Pakistan, but anti-Pakistan forces including India were making efforts to sabotage these efforts.

He said the government and military leadership were trying to strike an agreement between the Taliban and Afghan government before complete withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan.

Published in Dawn, June 10th, 2021

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