WASHINGTON: Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Wednesday urged Afghanistan’s Tali­ban rulers on Wednesday to use their influence on Tehreek-i-Tali­ban Pakistan to bring peace and stability in the region.

Speaking at the US Institute of Peace in Washington, the foreign minister also urged the United States to take lead in dealing with the devastating effects of the changing climate, which he called a ‘man-made disaster’.

“Following the fall of Kabul, [it] won’t be wrong to say that the TTP has found a sanctuary in Afghanistan. We have had a ceasefire which was good. Hopefully, Afghan Taliban will use their influence on TTP so that the group accepts the Consti­tu­tion of Pakistan and disarm.”

The foreign minister, in interviews to various US and international media networks, also urged the United States to deal with Afgha­nistan’s current Tali­ban regime, even if it requ­ired Washington to “hold its nose” while doing so, warning that isolating the Taliban could have dangerous consequences for all.

Asked by AP’s interviewers if he meant the US needed to hold its nose and deal with Afghanistan’s ruling power, Mr Bhutto-Zardari said, “Pretty much.”

In an interview with AFP, he said the international community had already seen how “washing hands of Afghanistan” created unintended problems.

Afghanistan also figured prominently in the foreign minister’s interactions on Capitol Hill on Wednesday as one of his hosts, Jeanne Shaheen wrote after the meeting that the discussions focused on “continued support for our Afghan allies, women and girls’ empowerment and counterterrorism efforts.”

The senator also assured the foreign minister that “as Pakistan recovers from devastating floods, the Senate is committed to provide humanitarian support.”

Mr Bhutto-Zardari, who apparently extended his four-day stay in Washington for a day, urged American lawmakers to play their role in tackling climate catastrophes.

“Discussed the need for leveraging our strong parliamentary ties to tackle climate catastrophes like Pakistan Floods and plans on how we will build back better,” he said in a tweet released after a meeting with Senator Chris Van Hollen and Representatives Maxine Waters, Ilhan Omar, and Henry Cuellar in Washington.

Pakistan’s top diplomat, who began his interaction with US lawmakers on Tuesday evening, has a simple message for them: play your role in ensuring that countries like Pakistan do get ‘climate justice.’

“And justice would be that we work together globally, that we’re not left alone, to deal with the consequences of this tragedy,” he said in one of his interviews to the American media.

In his discussions on Afghanistan, Mr. Bhutto-Zardari said the Taliban had yet to have the time and ability to grapple with extremist groups as a government should. “For them to demonstrate their will to take on terrorist organizations, we need to help them build their capacity to also do so” before judging them, he told AP.

The foreign minister also emphasised the need to release Afghanistan’s funds held by America.

“I believe that our concerns of an economic collapse, of an exodus of refugees, of a threat of new recruits for (armed) organisations … outweigh concerns that there may be about their financial institutions,” he said.

Published in Dawn, September 29th, 2022

Opinion

Editorial

1971 in retrospect
Updated 28 Nov, 2022

1971 in retrospect

The point of no return came when the military launched Operation Searchlight in March 1971.
Gender-based violence
28 Nov, 2022

Gender-based violence

IT is a war without boundaries and seemingly without end. A UN report on femicide released on Nov 25, the...
Battle against dacoits
28 Nov, 2022

Battle against dacoits

THE Punjab police is clearly fighting a formidable, and so far losing, battle against the criminal gangs based in ...
Policy rate hike
Updated 27 Nov, 2022

Policy rate hike

The decision to hike the policy rate by 100bps is a step in the right direction, even if intended to appease the IMF.
Vawda’s reprieve
27 Nov, 2022

Vawda’s reprieve

FAISAL Vawda should be relieved. After years of running from a reckoning for submitting a false declaration in his...
Gujarat’s ghosts
27 Nov, 2022

Gujarat’s ghosts

TWO decades have passed since the bloody Gujarat riots, one of the worst spasms of anti-Muslim violence witnessed in...