ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Saturday regretted not being allowed to take part in the United Nations Security Council discussion on Afghanistan, while its detractors were given an opportunity to peddle allegations against it.

“It is a matter of deep regret that, as the closest neighbour of Afghanistan, whose contribution in the ongoing peace process has been recognised by the international community, Pakistan’s request to the President of the Security Council to address the Council’s session and present its perspective on the Afghan peace process and the way forward was not acceded to,” the Foreign Office said in a statement on the Security Council’s emergency meeting on Afghanistan on Friday.

“On the other hand, the Council’s platform was made available to enable the peddling of a false narrative against Pakistan,” it added.

Kabul urged to refrain from blame-game

The meeting was convened at the request of Afghanistan government after Taliban began assaulting major urban centers and carried out an attack on the residence of Defense Minister Bismillah Mohammadi in Kabul.

The meeting was expected to be an unfriendly one for Pakistan.

The FO said Afghanistan’s representative propagated disinformation and levelled baseless allegations against Pakistan with a view to misleading the international community.

Pakistan, it said, categorically rejected these accusations.

The FO said Pakistan had shared its position with Security Council members.

“We emphatically reiterate that there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan and that a negotiated political settlement is the only way forward for durable peace and security in the country,” it said.

The FO recalled Pakistan’s contribution to the signing of US-Taliban peace agreement and subsequent commencement of Intra-Afghan negotiations.

“We are seriously concerned at the growing violence in Afghanistan and lack of substantive progress in the Intra-Afghan Negotiations,” it said, urging all sides to ensure respect for human rights and international humanitarian law.

The FO again urged all warring sides in Afghanistan to eschew the military approach, constructively engage in negotiations, and work together to secure an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement.

The statement also pointed to the role of ‘spoilers’ in sabotaging the peace efforts.

“We also urge the Government of Afghanistan, once again, to refrain from the blame-game and engage with Pakistan in a meaningful manner to address the challenges to peace, security and progress in the region. In this regard, we reiterate the need for effective use of bilateral institutional arrangements such as the Afghanistan Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity,” it added.

Published in Dawn, August 8th, 2021

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