ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Thursday said that with members of the international community and the Taliban at the same platform, the coming meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Islamabad would prove to be a stepping stone in finding solutions to the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.
The foreign minister, flanked by Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain in interaction with journalists and anchorpersons, said by hosting the event, Pakistan was playing a positive role by bridging the communication gap between the world and the Taliban.
FM Qureshi confirmed that a Taliban delegation, headed by the interim foreign minister, would participate in the moot, besides special representatives from the United States, Russia and China.
Apart from P5 countries, the representatives of Germany, Canada, Australia and Japan had also been invited, he added.
Qureshi says whole region will benefit if things go right
He said Pakistan wanted the Taliban to listen to concerns of the international community relating to human rights.
He said Pakistan was not the spokesperson for the Taliban, but only wanted to bring the stakeholders to the OIC platform to directly get across their points of view.
The foreign minister said Pakistan’s focus was improvement in the lives of Afghan people who faced conflict for decades.
“We are not limiting ourselves to any particular faction or group in Afghanistan,” he said.
He dismissed the impression that holding of the OIC conference on Afghanistan was a step towards recognising the government.
Mr Qureshi said the moot offered a rare opportunity for peace and stability in Afghanistan.
The whole region would benefit if things go right. But in case the situation moved the wrong way, all gains would come to naught, he warned.
He recalled that during his meetings with his counterparts in New York and the recent meeting with the High Representative of the European Union, Josep Borrell in Brussels, he explained that Afghanistan would be facing a tough situation if the EU did not take any action.
He mentioned that several ambassadors who had served in Afghanistan, including Ryan Crocker, former commander of ISAF Forces General John F. Campbell, Commander US Central Command and Director CIA General David Petraeus, and Secretary State for Economic and Business Affairs Ambassador Earl Anthony Wayne were of the view that international sanctions on Afghanistan should be reviewed immediately.
Mr Qureshi said 75 per cent of Afghanistan’s budget was dependent on external assistance. He pointed out that the country’s monetary reserves of $9.5 billion was frozen.
The foreign minister urged the international community to understand that any chaos and anarchy in the wake of the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan would lead to the strengthening of terrorist organisations.
All the efforts and foreign investment of 20 years in Afghanistan, besides the loss of innocent lives, would prove to be futile with the rise of a new wave of terrorism, he said.
He said the situation would not only affect Pakistan, but also other countries of the region, including Iran and Tajikistan, and even Europe.
Published in Dawn, December 17th, 2021