UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan told the UN Security Council (UNSC) on Tuesday that the massive smuggling of dollars to Afghanistan has had a devastating impact on its economy and currency, calling upon the world body to help revive the Afghan economy and the banking system.
At the special UNSC session, UN Special Representative for Afghanistan Roza Otunbayeva urged the international community to hold talks with the country’s de facto rulers because “dialogue is not recognition” attitude was needed to resolve various issues.
But the representative of the former Afghan government opposed the UN suggestion and instead urged the council to “sustain pressure on Taliban” to make them end “the apartheid” they have imposed on women and girls.
“The massive smuggling of dollars from Pakistan to Afghanistan has had a devastating impact on Pakistan’s economy and currency,” UN envoy Munir Akram told the council.
The ambassador pointed out that the rupee “stabilised” and regained some of its strength after Pakistan launched a crackdown on money smuggling.
Underlining the impact of a weak Afghan economy on Pakistan, Ambassador Akram urged the world body to help revive the banking system in Afghanistan, release and return the country’s assets held abroad and provide financial support for development projects.
“We look forward to early implementation of the shovel-ready regional connectivity projects between Pakistan-Afghanistan-Central Asia as well as Pakistan-China and Afghanistan,” he said.
The ambassador argued that for Pakistan, the “immediate and major threat” was posed by the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) as it was behind a series of cross-border terrorist attacks.
“We have been assured that action has been taken against TTP elements involved (in recent attacks) and further steps will be taken to prevent TTP terrorism against Pakistan,” Munir Akram said. “Pakistan will welcome these steps once credibly implemented.”
Ambassador Akram argued that unless the TTP, and other terrorist groups, were neutralised, they would continue to pose a threat to Afghanistan’s neighbours and the international community.
Otunbayeva, the UN Special Representative, told the Security Council that the international community must continue to engage with Taliban in Afghanistan despite “deep disagreement” with their approach to women’s rights and inclusive governance.
She cited a UN report based on more than 500 interviews with Afghan women, 46 per cent of whom said the Taliban should not be recognised under any circumstances.
“The question, however, is whether to continue engaging with the de facto authorities despite these policies, or to cease engaging because of them,” she said.
“Dialogue is not recognition. Engagement is not acceptance of these policies. On the contrary, dialogue and engagement are how we are attempting to change these.”
Published in Dawn, September 27th, 2023