Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday stressed the need for a 'coordinated policy' on Afghanistan and directed the setting up of a dedicated cell to synergise various streams of efforts on the neighbouring country, including international coordination for humanitarian assistance and effective border management to prevent any negative spillover into Pakistan.
The premier was presiding over the 34th National Security Committee (NSC) meeting, which was attended by the relevant federal cabinet members, all services chiefs, and heads of intelligence services.
According to a press release issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, Afghanistan remained the topic of discussion during the NSC meeting held at the PM’s House.
The prime minister received a detailed briefing on the evolving regional security situation and the recent developments in the war-torn country and their possible impact on Pakistan.
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The NSC reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to a peaceful, stable and sovereign Afghanistan and its participants noted with concern the "dire humanitarian situation in neighbouring country.
They emphasised the urgent need for the international community to provide assistance to avert a humanitarian crisis.
The forum also highlighted the importance of international coordination on constructive political and economic engagement with the interim government in Afghanistan.
“The prime minister expressed satisfaction on Pakistan’s support to the international evacuation effort from Afghanistan and noted that the entire world had recognised Pakistan’s positive contribution,” the PMO press release added.
The NSC emphasised that the evolving situation in the region was "extremely complex" and any instability in Afghanistan "could have severe implications for Pakistan".
“Agreeing with this view, the prime minister stressed the need for a coordinated policy effort.”
Later, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid told the media that the meeting lasted for nearly two hours and was attended by the entire political and military leadership, including army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa; the heads of the Pakistan Navy and Pakistan Air Force; and the chief of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
"All national issues were discussed in detail. The Afghanistan issue was also discussed. But none of those things can be talked about publicly," he added.
Rashid confirmed that the meeting was attended by the outgoing ISI chief, Lt Gen Faiz Hameed instead of Lt Gen Nadeem Ahmed Anjum as the change of command would around eight to 10 days.
He slammed the opposition leaders over their criticism of the security institutions, adding that they would "fall flat on their faces".
The interior minister said that criticising the state institutions was the “political death of these people”, adding that the opposition has done no work on the ground.
He claimed that the opposition would fail again as there was only a year left in the general elections. “Under the leadership of Imran Khan, we will fight the elections enthusiastically and bring change,” he added.
The minister predicted that the PML-N would split into three factions in the run-up to the elections.
He said the next 120 days would be "important" in Pakistani politics, adding that after October 22, the local politics would become "very happening".
He further said Pakistan was going through a "sensitive period".
"Our politicians are looking towards the West, while [global] politics is moving towards the East," the minister said, adding that this was a time for "serious politics" as Pakistan will bear the brunt if anything happened in Afghanistan.
The minister said there were some issues on the Chaman border crossing with Afghanistan that would be fixed soon.
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