Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said on Thursday that the Afghan Taliban were a political entity and Pakistan was ready to facilitate peace talks between the Afghanistan government and the Taliban.
Addressing the media after a China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) event in Islamabad, he said the prevailing situation in Afghanistan was acting as a stumbling block in regional peace and harmony.
“There seems to be no easy way out from the crisis engulfing Afghanistan. Taliban are a political reality of Afghanistan and the country also belongs to them,” he remarked.
“We wish to see peace in Afghanistan so we welcome its president’s proposal of dialogue with Taliban.”
The minister expressed desire for the United States to adopt a more balanced policy for the region, saying that the seed of Afghanistan’s turmoil was planted during the 1980s and it was due to the subsequent surrender of former president Musharraf the situation got worsened.
Commenting over the CPEC projects, the minister said President Xi Jinping’s “one belt, one route” vision will benefit 65 countries in the region. He further remarked that the Chinese president’s vision was not only the foundation of CPEC development, but also a powerful source of regional economic cooperation.
“Pakistan and China have made a beautiful example of friendship,” said Asif.
On ongoing political situation in the country, the minister said the state’s interest was superior to personal or institutional interests. “As a political worker, I believe that the ongoing uncertainty in the country will not affect CPEC in any sense,” he said, adding that he hopes the country will soon come out of the crisis.
He further added that Pakistan needed to learn from mistakes of the past.
Khawaja Asif said that ongoing thermal electricity projects will be completed by May 2018. “Consumers who pay the bills will be given uninterrupted electricity, while those who escape from payments will not be given any electricity,” he added.
Asif severely criticised atrocities committed in the Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK), citing the indifference of the global community to solve the territorial clash. “We are unfortunate to have such a neighbouring state,” he lamented.
He added that Pakistan will continue to strike in the event of violations on the Line of Control (LoC) and the Working Boundary by India.