India has no role in Afghan peace process: FO

Also rejects Indian claim Pakistan is using a 'Border Action Teams' to infiltrate LoC


Our Correspondent January 17, 2019
Pakistan Foreign Office. PHOTO: FILE PHOTO

ISLAMABAD: While vowing to continue supporting and facilitating Afghan peace process, Islamabad has categorically said New Delhi has no role whatsoever in the Afghanistan peace process

"Pakistan has facilitated the direct talks between the United States and Taliban and is convinced that an intra-Afghan dialogue is crucial to peace and stability in the war-torn country," said the Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal at a weekly press briefing on Thursday

He was responding to a question about fate of stalled Afghan talks amid efforts by Pakistan. The spokesperson said Pakistan has always maintained that the solution to the Afghan conflict lies in an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.

"However, India has no role in the Afghanistan peace process," he said in response to a query.

He said Pakistan will continue to support and facilitate Afghan peace process in good faith and as shared responsibility. When asked about China's relevance in the domain of Afghan peace process, he said the matter is 'sensitive' and the Chinese government is in a better position to respond.

Modi’s mindset main hurdle in holding bilateral talks, PM tells Indian journalists

However, he recalled that Pakistan along with China participated in trilateral meetings in Kabul last December, concluding several agreements among the three countries.

Faisal said the ongoing visit of US Special Envoy on Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad to Islamabad after Kabul is also part of the same reconciliation process.  The spokesperson, however, did not confirm the reports of arrest of a senior Taliban military commander Hafiz Mohibullah in Peshawar.

The spokesperson also rejected the Indian claims that Pakistan is using its 'so-called Border Action Teams' to infiltrate the Line of Control (LoC) and said no such force exists.

"The Pakistan Army is a responsible and professional force, committed to protecting lives and property of its own citizens and does not resort to such irresponsible provocation. Indian accusations against Pakistan's military to opt for such tactics are totally incorrect and baseless."

The spokesperson said it is India whose occupations forces in the occupied Kashmir are deliberately targeting civilians in a desperate bid to raise the bogey of external threats.

"India continues with its aggressive and belligerent posturing justifying its ceasefire violations by levelling baseless allegations of infiltration from the Pakistani side. The Indian mal-intent is apparent from its repeated ceasefire violations instead of using the hotline contact between the two sides."

He said Pakistan consistently maintains the smooth functioning of the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) in line with the UN Security Council Resolutions to maintain peace and tranquility. "However, India is restricting the UNMOGIP's movement in its side," he added.

India can't stop freedom movement in occupied Kashmir: PM

The spokesperson said work on the Pakistani side of the Kartarpur Border Corridor is underway with construction of a bridge at the River Ravi. Topographical and hydrological surveys have been completed to materialise the project that will allow visa-free entry of the Sikh pilgrims to the holy shrine in Pakistan.

Imran's visit

The spokesperson said Prime Minister Imran Khan would pay an official visit to the State of Qatar on January 21-22 on the invitation of its emir to discuss issues of bilateral interest.

In response to a question regarding the Qatar's offer to provide 0.1 million jobs to Pakistani citizens, he said the PM would also discuss the matter regarding export of manpower.

The spokesperson said Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman would visit Pakistan in February and dates of the visit are being worked out. He said the two sides are actively pursuing to finalise agreements and memoranda of understanding to be inked during the visit.

He said the United Nations General Assembly President Maria Fernanda Espinosa would be arriving in Pakistan on Friday (today) and would stay in Pakistan till January 22.

During her meeting with the prime minister and the foreign minister, the issue of continuous human rights violations in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) would be taken up by the Pakistan side.

To a question regarding controversy about discrepancy in the visit dates of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to Pakistan, the spokesperson said the Foreign Office press release clearly mentioned that his 'official visit started on Sunday'.

He said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was onboard regarding the unofficial stay as well.

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