Pakistan on Friday warned the United States against adopting a “pick-and-choose” policy to deal with Afghan insurgents, saying the move will not bode well for long-term peace and stability in the war-torn region.
The word of caution was conveyed to US special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, Marc Grossman in the first leg of his meetings with senior government and military officials during a two-day visit to Pakistan, a senior official told The Express Tribune on the condition of anonymity.
Grossman arrived in Islamabad on Friday and held separate meetings with Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.
The official said discussions between Obama’s point-man for the region and Pakistani authorities will revolve around making the Afghan reconciliation process result-oriented. “We are more than willing to facilitate peace efforts, but the US has to come clean on some of the issues.”
He added the US administration was sending mixed signals. “On the one hand, they (Americans) want to negotiate [with insurgents], but at the same time are blacklisting certain Afghan groups,” he said referring to the recent US move to declare the Haqqani network a terrorist outfit.
However, Islamabad is wary of further accusations linking the country’s establishment to militants and is said to have voiced no reservations regarding the decision.
“That’s why we tried to distance ourselves … had we suggested anything to the US, it would have been said that we are trying to protect certain groups.”
The official stressed the reconciliation process would only succeed if all stakeholders – be it the Haqqanis, Hikmatyars or Mullah Omar – are part of the peace process.
Pakistani authorities believe US is trying to strike a delicate balance between its domestic compulsions and the ground realities in Afghanistan. While the Haqqanis might be dubbed as terrorists, some American interlocutors have not ruled out the possibility of engaging the group in negotiations.
Grossman is due to meet President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Raja Ashraf today.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 15th, 2012.
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