ISLAMABAD: With a quadrilateral bloc on Afghan peace process finalising a roadmap for reviving talks between Kabul and the Afghan Taliban, Pakistan is advising a ‘step-by-step’ approach.
“We must, sequence the process and take a step-by-step approach,” said Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry as he cautioned against pre-conditions from either side in an ‘extremely complex and difficult process’.
The four-nation group which includes Afghanistan, Pakistan, US and China, had decided during its third meeting in Islamabad on February 6 to hold talks with insurgent groups by the end of the month.
Taliban’s political negotiators had spelled out some preconditions for joining the quadrilateral talks that included opening their political office in Qatar, removal of travel sanctions and release of prisoners. The Taliban also want to talk to the US first to discuss the withdrawal of foreign forces.
Speaking at a meeting of the Afghan members of the civil society which is currently visiting Pakistan as part of the Beyond Boundaries – Pak-Afghan Track II/1.5 initiative, Chaudhry hoped that concerted efforts by the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) would result in direct intra-Afghan talks sooner than later.
The non-official dialogue has been undertaken by an Islamabad based Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS).
In that context, the foreign secretary underscored that ‘positive messaging’ by all stakeholders was essential to build confidence and help improve perceptions.
“This will also help the respective governments to move in tandem in the reconciliation process and neutralise the impact of spoilers,’ he said and also expressed the hope that the Afghan civil society and the media would play their role in making the peace efforts successful.
About relations with Afghanistan, the chief diplomat said that Pakistan believes in a sovereign, united, prosperous, peaceful Afghanistan which is in the interest of the entire region.
“Hope and faith in the process as well as in Pakistan’s sincerity in the peace efforts will work better than continuous blame-game and scepticism,” Chaudhry said.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 11th, 2016.