Pakistan's role for inclusive arrangement in Afghanistan being recognised world over: Qureshi

Published August 23, 2021
Shah Mehmood Qureshi says an immediate scare of a huge influx has somewhat subsided because of "calm" situation in Afghanistan. — DawnNewsTV
Shah Mehmood Qureshi says an immediate scare of a huge influx has somewhat subsided because of "calm" situation in Afghanistan. — DawnNewsTV

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Monday said Pakistan's role in the push to create an "inclusive" political arrangement in Afghanistan following US withdrawal was being "recognised world over".

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, the minister said that Pakistan, with the help of some regional players, was facilitating an arrangement in Afghanistan that would have "broad-based representation and wider acceptability".

“Every foreign minister who is engaged with me, their views are in sync with us,” Qureshi added.

He said the countries in talks with Pakistan felt the latter was playing a "very vital and critical role" in the current challenging environment in Afghanistan. “A very few embassies… to be precise, only five are operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan's is one of them,” he said.

He said other countries in the region wanted Pakistan to assist in the ongoing evacuation process of people stuck in Afghanistan. “They (regional players) want Pakistan to promote an inclusive arrangement, which Pakistan also believes in,” he said.

Qureshi said Pakistan sees Afghanistan as a country with a number of ethnic groups — all of whom are important and need representation in the country's political setup.

He mentioned his plans of visiting a quartet of regional players, saying “I will be leaving for four countries [namely] Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Iran” to discuss the Afghan situation.

Qureshi further said that he also plans on visiting China to discuss the role that Afghanistan's immediate neighbours could play in the current political climate. “The objective is to hear their assessment and see what immediate challenges the neighbours are facing and can face,” he noted.

He said discussions were also planned to chalk out a collective strategy of dealing with Afghan refugees.

The foreign minister said any immediate scare of a mass influx of refugees had "somewhat subsided" because of the situation in Afghanistan which “is more or less calm, but that need can arise in days to come".

He also said that as many as 409 people were given visa-on-arrival in Islamabad following their evacuation from Afghanistan. “Our embassy and our ambassador are constantly in touch with local authorities in Kabul, ensuring safety and safe transportation of those people who are coming into our embassy and then have to be transported at the airport.”

He described the situation in Kabul as "calm" but acknowledged that there was "some pressure around the airport".

"We have set up an Evacuation Operation Cell at the Ministry of Interior, which is operational since Aug 16, the minister said, adding that all stakeholders were under working under one roof to facilitate matters.

He said the PIA had operated five flights between Islamabad and Kabul since August 16. “All these flights have brought 542 foreign nationals and 91 Pakistanis,” he said.

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