Pakistan ‘deeply regrets’ UNSC snub

Islamabad rejects allegations at council’s Friday session that it provides safe haven to Taliban

Kamran Yousaf August 07, 2021
The United Nations Security Council. PHOTO: FILE


Pakistan has expressed “deep regret” over the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) president’s decision not to invite it to a session on Afghanistan despite a request, while categorically rejecting all allegations levelled during the session.

The UNSC met on Friday to discuss the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan and concluded the session with a joint call urging all parties including the Taliban to reduce violence and seek a political settlement. Pakistan had also requested the UNSC chair – currently held by India’s permanent representative – to allow it to participate in the session in order to present its perspective on the Afghan situation.

But the UNSC president did not accept the request, prompting the Foreign Office and Pakistan’s permanent ambassador to the UN to issue strong statements.

“It is a matter of deep regret that, as the closest neighbour of Afghanistan, whose contribution in the ongoing peace process has been recognised by the international community, Pakistan’s request to the president of the Security Council to address the council’s session and present its perspective on the Afghan peace process and the way forward was not acceded to,” according to an FO statement issued on Saturday, a day after the UNSC session.

“On the other hand, the council’s platform was made available to enable the peddling of a false narrative against Pakistan,” the statement added.

The FO also referred to the statement made by Afghanistan’s representative at the UNSC meeting, saying the envoy spread disinformation and levelled baseless allegations against Pakistan with a view to mislead the international community.

“Pakistan categorically rejects these accusations. Pakistan’s position on the issue has been shared with the Security Council members,” the FO noted.

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According to the statement, Pakistan had repeatedly shared its perspective on peace and stability in Afghanistan in clear and unambiguous terms with the international community.

“We emphatically reiterate that there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan and that a negotiated political settlement is the only way forward for durable peace and security in the country.

“Towards that end, Pakistan’s constructive efforts with support of the international community led to achieving important milestones in Doha peace process including the US-Taliban Peace Agreement and the UNSC subsequent commencement of Intra-Afghan Negotiations.”

“As the US and Nato forces are near completion of their withdrawal from Afghanistan, we are seriously concerned at the growing violence in Afghanistan and lack of substantive progress in the Intra-Afghan Negotiations.

Expressing deep concern at the reports of human rights violations, we urge all sides to ensure full respect for human rights and international humanitarian law,” the statement said.

Pakistan called upon all warring sides in Afghanistan to eschew the military approach, engage constructively in negotiations, and work together to secure an inclusive, broadbased and comprehensive political settlement.

“It is equally important to remain cognizant of spoilers, both within and outside, who do not wish to see the return of peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region.”

“We also urge the Government of Afghanistan, once again, to refrain from the blame-game and engage with Pakistan in a meaningful manner to address the challenges to peace, security and progress in the region.

In this regard, we reiterate the need for effective use of bilateral institutional arrangements such as the Afghanistan Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS),” the statement concluded.

As the situation deteriorates in Afghanistan, certain elements in Kabul are pointing a finger at Pakistan for supporting the Afghan Taliban, who are making rapid inroads in Afghanistan since May. Pakistan has always denied such allegations and insisted that it has no favorites in the war-torn country.

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Pakistan Permanent Ambassador to the UN Munir Akram also strongly deplored allegations made on Friday by Afghan and Indian diplomats that terrorists use its territory as a safe haven, saying the country’s border with Afghanistan has been fenced and there is no free flow of people.

“We would never allow our soil to be used to destabilize Afghanistan and expect the same from Afghanistan,” Ambassador Akram told a press conference at the UN headquarters, hours after the UNSC session on Afghanistan.

At his press conference, Akram also criticized India, the council president for the month of August, for denying Pakistan an opportunity to address the UNSC as a neighbouring country with a direct stake in peace in Afghanistan.

“We made a formal request for participation but it was denied,” he told reporters. “Obviously, we do not expect fairness from the Indian presidency for Pakistan.”

Pakistan’s complete statement on the situation in Afghanistan will be circulated to the UNSC members, he said.

Rejecting allegations about safe havens and sanctuaries as well as cross-borders movements of the Taliban fighters as “mere fantasies”, the Pakistani envoy said, “Pakistan has eliminated terrorist groups from its soil. There are no safe havens in Pakistan.”

“Terrorism possesses a huge challenge to Afghanistan, to its neighbouring countries, particularly Pakistan,” Akram said, while urging the international community to prevent the Afghan territory from being used by Al Qaeda, Da’ish and other international terrorist groups like Tehreeke-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) to carry out attacks against any country.

“Pakistan is especially concerned at the support being provided to the TTP and the Jamaatul Ahrar (JuA) by a third country,” he said, adding, “So, the shoe is now on the other foot.” Ambassador Akram also slammed regional “spoilers” who he said were attempting to derail the Afghan peace process that Pakistan had facilitated.

He warned against the spoilers, “both within and outside Afghanistan” against their machinations to promote their vested interests.



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