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Pakistan seeking responsible US exit from Afghanistan: Khar

December 01, 2012

Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar. -File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar on Friday said that Pakistan wanted the United States to have responsible exit from Afghanistan to keep regional peace and stability.

In an interview to a private television channel, Khar said Pakistan's role is to assist the Afghan government in achieving its objectives and responsible transition and exit of US is possible through process of reconciliation.

The Minister said Pakistan and US have been building a common strategy with the aim of security and stability in Afghanistan and elimination of terrorism.

She said there is a sea change in the narrative between Pakistan and Afghanistan after the visit of High Peace Council led by Salahuddin Rabbani.

She said during her talks with the Afghan Foreign Minister, they agreed to hold a conference of Pakistani and Afghan ulema by the end of January 2013, release of prisoners and to move forward on the issue of talks with Taliban.

Khar said the two sides want that all elements which use violence to prove their strength, utilise political means to achieve their goals.

In Islam there is no acceptability for suicide attacks and violence should be rejected, she remarked.

The Minister said Pakistan has immense soft power in Afghanistan and there is no problem in relations between people of the two countries. There is a need to streamline Pakistan Afghanistan Transit Trade Agreement and enhance economic cooperation, regional connectivity and institutional links between militaries and intelligence agencies of the two countries, she added.

She said the executive arm of the government led by President and Prime Minister formulate policy on foreign relations and military and intelligence agencies support this policy.

Army has certainly an input on matters of security and border management, she added.

To a question, Khar said Pakistan and United States have an ongoing intensive dialogue on drone attacks and hopefully it will lead to results.

“We always took the position that drone attacks are illegal and counterproductive and a hurdle in winning hearts and minds of people,” Khar said.

Moreover, she said Pakistan always pursues relations with US which are based on principles of sovereign equality and common interests.

“Pivot of our foreign policy is to have goods relations with neighbours through use of regional mechanisms.”

About India-Afghanistan relations, Khar said if these relations are not against in the interest of Pakistan, it has no objections.

Furthermore, she added that all countries in the region including Russia, Iran, Central Asian Republics and Turkey are committed to peace and stability and they are against bases for terrorism and want end of narco trafficking.

To a question about India-Pakistan relations, she underscored the importance of a conducive environment to promote dialogue between the two neighbours.

“After Mumbai incident, there was a difficult situation and we decided to build trust with India and normalised trade relations as a confidence building measure.”

“Both the countries assisted each other in vote for non- permanent membership of UN Security Council. We are trying our best to improve relations with India, which helped Pakistan in getting market access in EU,” she observed.

To a question, the Minister said Kashmir issue could not be resolved militarily and with hate and animosity in last 60 years and both countries need to start with less divisive issues.

She said Indian Prime Minister should come to Pakistan and he has expressed his desire to undertake the visit.