‘Pakistan paying price for Afghan situation’

Afghan envoy cautions against treating peace as a seasonal objective


Tahir Khan April 07, 2016
Afghan envoy Dr Omar Zakhilwal. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has consistently been paying a “heavy price” for the situation in Afghanistan, top Afghan envoy Dr Omar Zakhilwal said on Thursday.

Commenting on the current status of the relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan, he said that the relationship could be defined “at best as estranged - if not totally broken”.

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“We are neither in a declared state of war or peace with each either,” said Dr Zakhilwal said at a question-answer session in Islamabad. Attributing the current estrangement in ties to the thick barrier of mistrust” between the two neighbours, the Afghan envoy said despite attempts by both sides, we have not yet broken down those barriers.

War and instability, according to Dr Zakhilwal, has neither served the interests of Islamabad or Kabul. At the same time, the envoy cautioned that peace should not be a seasonal objective. “For us and our partners it should be a consistent, long-term aim,” the Afghan envoy said.

Talking about the prospects for peace, he said that peace in Afghanistan was viewed and valued in a broader regional context and that peace in Afghanistan was sought and supported by all partners concerned, particularly Pakistan, “not as a matter of sympathy, or favour or gift but as a matter of national interest and, therefore, (it should be pursued) as a matter of national policy”.

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“Peace objectives at the very outset are presented as a win-win for all sides rather than self-serving and narrowly focused,” he said.

The ambassador called for quick progress on the peace talks and “embarking on consequences for those who don’t accept to join peace and instead opt for war.”

Published in The Express Tribune, April 8th, 2016.

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