FM urges US to go beyond Afghan conflict for better ties

Published September 22, 2021
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations during his trip to New York. — Photo courtesy: Twitter
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations during his trip to New York. — Photo courtesy: Twitter

UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan on Tuesday urged the United States to go beyond the Afghan conflict and build a bilateral relationship anchored in trade, investment and people-to-people contacts.

“We want to build a more broad-based and multidimensional relationship. We want to break out of the cyclical pattern that defined Pakistan-US ties in the past,” said Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), New York, where he outlined his vision of this bilateral relationship.

Yet the minister had to confront several questions on Afghanistan, with CFR President Ambassador Richard Haass voicing the concern that often echoes in such gatherings across the US that the Taliban re-established their control over Afghanistan, because “Pakistan provided them sanctuary for 20 years”.

Says Pakistan is in no rush to recognise the Taliban govt

The minister disagreed with the suggestion, saying that “Pakistan has done its bit” in clearing Taliban sanctuaries in the tribal belt, conducting operations even in the so-called no-go areas. “We cleansed them. We cleansed them,” he said. “We fenced the border despite... If you are concerned about sanctuaries, look into Afghanistan,” he added.

Ambassador Haass used the response to pose a counter question: Could the Taliban now use Afghanistan to radicalise Pakistan?

“Depends on how you deal with Afghanistan today,” Mr Qureshi replied urging the world powers not to isolate Kabul’s new rulers. “If the international community disengages, if you do not deal with the immediate humanitarian crisis, if you let the Afghan economy collapse, if you continue freezing the Afghan money, then you will be creating space for those elements that we correctly agreed to fight and defeat,” he said.

FM Qureshi asked world powers to encourage progress towards a more inclusive and stable government in Afghanistan that would be more effective at denying space to terrorist groups.

In an earlier interaction with UN-based journalists, Mr Qureshi, who is in New York to attend the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly, said Pakistan was in no rush to recognise the Taliban government, highlighting that the Taliban needed to understand that they must be more sensitive and receptive to international opinion and norms if they wanted recognition and assistance in rebuilding their war-battered country.

Published in Dawn, September 22nd, 2021

Opinion

Editorial

Border clashes
19 May, 2024

Border clashes

THE Pakistan-Afghanistan frontier has witnessed another series of flare-ups, this time in the Kurram tribal district...
Penalising the dutiful
19 May, 2024

Penalising the dutiful

DOES the government feel no remorse in burdening honest citizens with the cost of its own ineptitude? With the ...
Students in Kyrgyzstan
Updated 19 May, 2024

Students in Kyrgyzstan

The govt ought to take a direct approach comprising convincing communication with the students and Kyrgyz authorities.
Ominous demands
Updated 18 May, 2024

Ominous demands

The federal government needs to boost its revenues to reduce future borrowing and pay back its existing debt.
Property leaks
18 May, 2024

Property leaks

THE leaked Dubai property data reported on by media organisations around the world earlier this week seems to have...
Heat warnings
18 May, 2024

Heat warnings

STARTING next week, the country must brace for brutal heatwaves. The NDMA warns of severe conditions with...