• Rashid says visas on arrival to be issued to those coming from Kabul
• Qureshi to visit countries to evolve consensus
ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on Wednesday said Prime Minister Imran Khan and his cabinet would decide on recognising the Taliban government in Afghanistan.
Speaking at a press conference, Mr Ahmed said a peaceful and stable Afghanistan was in the interest of Pakistan.
“We are advocates of peace and we will not allow our land to be used against any other country. At the same time, we will not allow any other’s land to be used against us,” he said.
Rejecting baseless propaganda emanating from New Delhi, he said there was complete peace and tranquility at Torkham and Chaman borders which were open for trade and transit, adding that attempts to make Pakistan a scapegoat had failed.
The minister said on the directives of the prime minister, visas on arrival would be issued to those coming from Afghanistan.
He said 613 Pakistani citizens and 900 foreign diplomats and embassy staff had been brought to the country since August 14.
“Pakistan has played a significant role in bringing the US and Taliban to the negotiating table,” he added.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday informed his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi that he would be undertaking visits to various countries to develop a “regional consensus on the evolving situation in Afghanistan”.
A statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Mr Qureshi shared details of his upcoming visits with Mr Wang during a telephone call, adding that both foreign ministers agreed to remain in contact on shared interests, particularly the Afghanistan situation.
“A peaceful and stable Afghanistan was of critical importance for Pakistan and the entire region,” the statement quoted Mr Qureshi as saying.
In light of this observation, the foreign minister said Pakistan had been assiduously supporting the Afghan peace process and acknowledged the significant contributions made by China and Pakistan, as part of Troika Plus, to support the initiative for restoring peace in the war-torn country.
He further stressed the need for ensuring security and protection of Afghan citizens and their rights. Mr Qureshi also called for the international community to continue its support for the people of Afghanistan, particularly provision of economic assistance.
Moreover, the statement said, Mr Qureshi apprised Mr Wang of Pakistan’s efforts to facilitate the evacuation of diplomatic staff, journalists and others from Afghanistan.
Discussing bilateral ties between China and Pakistan, Mr Qureshi termed both the countries “iron-clad brothers” and strategic partners.
Published in Dawn, August 19th, 2021