ISLAMABAD: Islamabad has welcomed the preliminary peace deal signed between Kabul and the Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) militant group, saying negotiations are the only way to bring peace and stability to the war-ravaged country.
“Pakistan welcomes any and every effort, which brings the militant groups to the negotiation table,” Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said at his weekly news briefing.
His statement came at a time when efforts to revive direct negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban are not making any headway.
Senior officials from Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and the US met in Islamabad on Wednesday to break the deadlock in the peace process but the four-nation initiative appears to be making little progress due to serious differences between Islamabad and Kabul. Following the April 19 attack in Kabul, Afghanistan is pushing Pakistan to take action against the Haqqani network and Taliban.
Responding to the Afghan concerns, Nafees said Pakistan had undertaken non-discriminatory military action in North Waziristan and Pakistan’s sincerity could not be doubted in this regard. “Doubting Pakistan’s intention is not only wrong, but it also strengthens those elements that do not want to see peace in Afghanistan,” he said.
Talking about the Afghan demand for a military action against the Taliban, the spokesperson said the main message of the joint statement issued after the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) meeting was that “we will have to give peace a chance through negotiations because there was no option better than peace.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 20th, 2016.