Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Tuesday stressed upon the Afghan leaders to achieve a “negotiated political settlement at the earliest” as US forces withdraw from the country, saying such a measure would bring peace, stability and prosperity in Afghanistan.
In a meeting with his Afghan counterpart Haneef Atmar on the sidelines of the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in Dushanbe, Qureshi reaffirmed Pakistan’s “consistent support” to a peaceful and united Afghanistan, which is at peace with itself and its neighbours, the Foreign Office said in a statement.
The foreign minister remarked that Afghan leaders should seize the current "historic opportunity" and take advantage of international convergence on the final settlement of the Afghan conflict by working together on an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement.
Qureshi also expressed concern over high levels of violence in Afghanistan which has resulted in the loss of many lives. He emphasised the need to take immediate steps to decrease violence, leading to a comprehensive ceasefire.
Stressing that "negative statements" could not cloud Pakistan’s positive contribution to the Afghan peace process and that "blame game will not serve the region," the foreign minister urged his Afghan counterpart to address all concerns through established institutional mechanisms, including the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity.
He said Pakistan looked forward to hosting the review meeting of APAPPS in Islamabad at the earliest.
“Pakistan supports a peaceful and stable Afghanistan, which would yield mutual dividends and benefits in terms of peace in the region, economic prosperity and regional connectivity,” he added, according to the FO.
In a tweet after the meeting, Qureshi said the path ahead was ultimately to be determined by Afghan leaders "from whom flexibility is essential to achieve a negotiated settlement and any blame games are detrimental to peace process".
He added that neither Pakistan nor the international community nor the people of Afghanistan wished for "a repeat of civil war".
The minister further said Pakistan and Afghanistan’s destinies were "inter-twined".
"We believe working together will help us realise stronger regional connectivity and greater people-centric linkages," he wrote, adding that he looked forward to hosting his Afghan counterpart in Islamabad to continue the collective efforts.