ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar stated that Pakistan, in its own core national interest is irrevocably committed to achieving stability in Afghanistan through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation process. It is for the Afghans themselves to define the contours of reconciliation, she stressed.
She was speaking on “Changing Regional and Global Environment; Pakistan’s Perspective” at the German Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin. The audience included a cross section of the representatives of German society including political, social sector, business community and academic circles.
In her keynote address, the foreign minister dilated upon Afghan situation, Pakistan-US relations and the various reforms introduced by the present government to strengthen democracy and the civil society in Pakistan.
She emphasised that a stable and peaceful Afghanistan was absolute imperative for the prosperity of Pakistan. She said besides looking after around 2.5 million Afghan refugees, Pakistan was actively contributing towards reconstructing and rebuilding Afghanistan.
Pakistan was providing 2,000 fully-funded scholarships and over 500,000 Afghan children were benefiting from our education system, Khar said, and added that Pakistan government hospitals were providing free medical treatment to Afghans.
Referring to Pakistan’s relations with the US, the foreign minister said that after a belated “sorry” by the US for the Salala tragedy, Pakistan-US relations were now back on track. Nato supply routes from Pakistan to Afghanistan had been reopened, she added.
She, however, stated that unilateral drone strikes were complicating the situation. Besides being in violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and international law, they were proving counter-productive, she added.
Foreign Minister Khar also said that the democratic government, since it came into power, has taken a number of steps to strengthen democratic institutions and ensure maximum provincial autonomy. The minister said that constitutional amendments have been made by the parliament to remove anomalies inserted by the dictators of the past.
She said that political reforms have been introduced to ensure maximum representation and participation by the people in the system of governance. Civil society in Pakistan has become increasingly vocal and media and judiciary are now fully independent and active, she added.