Pakistan Will Support Peace Talks, But Cannot Guarantee its Success: Sartaj Aziz
Photo: Rahmat Gull
On Sunday, Pakistan’s National Security and Foreign Affairs Advisor, Sartaj Aziz, during his visit to Kabul emphasised that the Taliban is not under Pakistani government’s control. At the same time, he pointed out that even though Pakistan’s government is in contact with the group, it is only for convincing them to join the peace process.
In light of Mr. Aziz’s comments, the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged the neighbouring country to cooperate and accelerate the stalled peace process.
Islamabad made it clear to the Afghan officials that Mr. Aziz has been sent to Kabul to help re-initiate the stalled peace process and strengthen relations between the two countries, which have worsened over the past few years. However, Kabul still believes that no positive outcome has been achieved from the efforts put in to normalise its relations with Pakistan.
“Pakistan will not interfere in the internal affairs of Afghanistan. Pakistan will also reinforce legal efforts in support of the reconciliation process and persuade all regional countries to adopt the same policy of non-interference,” said Mr. Aziz.
While the people of Afghanistan are expecting that Pakistan will assist in ending violence in the country, Islamabad announced that it can’t guarantee success of the peace process.
“We cannot guarantee success of the peace process. It is the duty of the stakeholders in Afghanistan to undertake an Afghan-led peace process. We will only play facilitation roles that we are asked to play. We will not initiate or impose any solution nor make any concrete proposal. We will only facilitate the inter-dialogue,” added Mr. Aziz.
However, Kabul still hopes that Pakistan will play a positive role not only in the peace process but also in the nation building process of Afghanistan.
“Afghanistan expects that the newly government in Pakistan will honestly contribute in the political, economic and social spheres of the country, including the peace process,” said Zalmai Rasoul, Afghan Foreign Minister.
The Pakistani official has visited Kabul at a time when the bilateral relations between Kabul and Islamabad has taken a serious downturn over the past few months.
The government of Afghanistan has always accused Pakistan of harbouring and assisting the insurgent groups in order to destabilise Afghanistan.
Afghan-Pak relation has experienced lot of ups and downs over the past few years and the Afghan President has visited Pakistan 19 times over the last decade, in an effort to improve the situation.
Afghan officials believe so as to ensure sustainable peace and stability in Afghanistan, Pakistan’s cooperation is essential during the entire peace process. Officials said that if Pakistan stops providing shelter to the insurgents, half of the problem would be solved.
At a press conference organized by the NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in the first week of July, he said that to ensure peace and sustainable stability in the region, it is imperative that Afghanistan receives serious and honest cooperation from Pakistan, that the political process is Afghan-led with respect to human rights and the Afghan National Security Forces continue to develop.
Gen. Rasmussen took the press conference opportunity to encourage the Pakistani government and military establishment to continue what he considered serious efforts to combat insurgency along the border shared by Afghanistan and Pakistan.