‘Stable Afghanistan not worth abandoning strategic interests’

German minist­er quotes Gen Kayani, hesita­tes to offer more securi­ty aid.


Shahbaz Rana June 19, 2011

ISLAMABAD:


Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has told a visiting European delegation that “Pakistan wants a stable Afghanistan but not at the cost of Pakistan,” suggesting that Islamabad wants to remain relevant in any peace initiative and is unlikely to accept a solution that would undermine its strategic interests.


This revelation was made by German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Dirk Niebel, who is currently visiting Pakistan alongside his European Union counterpart.

“We have to find a solution (to this problem) and Pakistan’s cooperation with Germany and the EU can become the basis for the stability of the region,” said Niebel.

Niebel did not clarify what sort of endgame Germany or the EU had in mind for Afghanistan, where several European nations, including Germany, have thousands of troops stationed.

As a US ally and a frontline state in war against terrorism, Pakistan has had to bear over 35,000 civilian and more than 5,000 military causalities, in addition to economic losses of $68 billion, according to 2011 Economic Survey of Pakistan.

The German cabinet member appeared reluctant to commit to additional assistance for security. “We know that for our work we need a secure environment but we cannot make payments as much as you require,” he said.

Access to EU markets

Pakistan has been striving to get duty free access to the European markets under the Generalized System of Preference, known as GSP plus status, by 2013. The German minister said the EU has problems with Pakistan’s decision to introduce reservations in two international treaties relating to civil and political rights.

“The president and the prime minister of Pakistan have assured the delegation that Pakistan would diminish its reservations introduced in these two conventions,” said Niebel. If Pakistan withdraws these objections, it would address one of the major conditions for duty-free access to EU markets. Islamabad has raised ‘blanket objections’ on two international treaties on political and human rights following their ratification.

The EU believes the general and blanket nature of the reservations called into question other international obligations that Islamabad has undertaken including in terms of discrimination against women.

Under the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights a signatory state has to report about measures adopted to give the effect to rights in the Covenant. It should also indicate the factors and difficulties affecting the implementation of those rights. Pakistan has raised objection over the reporting clause and is hesitant to report on the state of human and political rights.

The German minister urged Pakistan to implement tax reforms. “For us as donors, a strong, big and proud country must do more than have revenues from only 1.5 million people out of a 180 million population as it is important for us to explain our taxpayers,” he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 19th, 2011.

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COMMENTS (55)

50Cal | 9 years ago | Reply please explain to me how the following: “Pakistan wants a stable Afghanistan but not at the cost of Pakistan,” translates into ‘Stable Afghanistan not worth abandoning strategic interests’. I am all for self criticism but this is truly sad that our media is chooses to resort to typical unsubstantiated rhetoric.
vasan | 10 years ago | Reply Saeed: And one more point. Pl for heavens sake dont think that India or Indians are enjoying what Pakistan is going thru. We have lots of sympathies for your sufferings, men and material. We keep harping on your history and trying hard to make Pakistanis understand that what pakistan is going thru is due to its own past deeds and not because of RAW/CIA/MOSSAD conspiracies. We do this with the fond hope that Pakistan govt and establishment under pressure from civil societies will do course correction rather than dig deeper into its games that have brought havoc more to Pakistan and its neighbourhood. What we enjoyed and will enjoy are the games like WC semi finals and finals.
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