Pakistan to 'favourably' consider Afghan request for transport of Indian wheat, PM tells visiting delegation
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday said that Pakistan would "favourably" consider the request by the Taliban government in Afghanistan for transporting wheat offered by India through the country on an "exceptional basis" for humanitarian purposes.
According to a handout issued by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), the premier expressed the views while speaking to a delegation led by Afghanistan's acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi.
Muttaqi — who is currently in the country on a three-day visit — was accompanied by the acting ministers of finance, and industry and commerce as well as other senior members of the Afghan delegation.
During the meeting, the premier reaffirmed Pakistan's support to Afghanistan and the Afghan people in overcoming the challenges being faced by the neighbouring country.
He also stressed the vital importance of a peaceful, stable, sovereign, prosperous and connected Afghanistan for Pakistan and the wider region.
The premier stressed that "continued security and resolute counter-terrorism actions, respect for rights of all Afghans, and inclusivity in governance and politics would further contribute to Afghanistan’s stability," the PMO statement said.
He also expressed the hope that the interim Afghan government would continue to "constructively engage" the international community and would keep on taking positive measures to address prevailing challenges, the statement added.
"Pakistan has been consistently calling for provision of immediate humanitarian relief for Afghanistan," the statement quoted the premier as saying.
He also underscored the urgent need to release Afghanistan’s frozen assets and facilitate banking transactions to prevent an economic meltdown.
Commenting on Pak-Afghan relations, PM Imran reiterated Islamabad's resolve to stand by the Afghan people by extending all possible support, including humanitarian assistance in-kind, to withstand the coming winter season.
He said that Pakistan would provide essential food items including wheat and rice, emergency medical supplies and shelter items for Afghanistan, in addition to the assistance already extended.
The prime minister also emphasised the importance for the two countries to work together to facilitate the movement of people, trade, transit and regional connectivity in an effort to promote progress and prosperity in the region.
PM meets Troika delegates
Separately, the prime minister also met senior diplomats from China, Russia, the United States who are in Pakistan as part of the Troika Plus mechanism to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.
According to a PMO statement, the premier underscored the importance of the Troika Plus mechanism at the meeting and congratulated them on their "successful meeting in Islamabad regarding the situation in Afghanistan and the way forward to overcome the impending challenges".
The prime minister underlined the importance of peace and stability in Afghanistan for the security and prosperity of the entire region, the PMO statement said, adding that the premier told the diplomats that he had been consistently stressing that there was no military solution in Afghanistan.
"As such, Pakistan had all along supported an inclusive political settlement [in Afghanistan]," the PMO quoted him as saying.
He also emphasised the importance of inclusivity, respect of human rights, and resolute counter-terrorism actions in the changed environment in Afghanistan.
According to the PMO, the prime minister emphasised the importance of the international community having a "pragmatic approach and constructive engagement with Afghanistan to address mutual concerns and promote common interests of Troika Plus countries".
"The prime minister laid a strong emphasis on [the] provision of urgent humanitarian assistance as well as economic support to Afghanistan to avert the twin challenges of a humanitarian crisis and economic collapse," the PMO said,
PM Imran also hoped that the international community would recognise the gravity of the situation and take urgent measures to help alleviate the sufferings of Afghan people. The prime minister highlighted the crucial role of Troika Plus in this context, the PMO said.