Strategic pact with India: Afghan envoy meets Kayani to quell Pak’s fears

Karzai terms Pakistan ‘twin brother’, says accord with New Delhi will not affect ties with Islamabad.


Kamran Yousaf October 05, 2011

ISLAMABAD: In an apparent attempt to dispel Pakistan’s concerns a day after Kabul signed its first-ever strategic pact with New Delhi, the Afghan ambassador to Islamabad held meetings on Wednesday with Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir.

In separate meetings with General Kayani and Bashir, Afghan envoy Omar Khan Daudzai justified his country’s latest push to enhance security and economic cooperation with India but insisted the move “was not aimed at isolating Pakistan”, diplomatic sources said.

Both Afghan and Pakistani officials confirmed the meetings took place but shared little details.

“The discussions were obviously focused on developments that took place recently,” an Afghan diplomat said, requesting anonymity.

A Pakistani military official said the Afghan ambassador met General Kayani in an effort to dismiss the impression that the strategic partnership between Kabul and New Delhi was meant to undermine Islamabad’s role in Afghanistan.

However, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani tried to downplay the development.

“Both are sovereign countries, they have the right to do whatever they want to,” Gilani told reporters in Islamabad.

But despite Gilani’s somewhat neutral reaction, the country’s security establishment fears that India’s enhanced role in Afghanistan will have serious implications for Pakistan.

The strategic pact between Afghanistan and India was sealed amidst Pakistan’s strained ties with both Kabul and Washington over the Haqqani network.

Analysts say the latest US and Afghan allegations against Pakistan, coupled with Kabul’s accord with New Delhi, appears to indicate coordinated attempt to exert pressure on Islamabad.

A source familiar with the ongoing developments said General Kayani and Bashir both voiced serious concerns over the Afghan accusations holding Pakistan responsible for the mess in Afghanistan.

“The blame game must come to an end,” the source quoted Bashir as telling the Afghan envoy.

It was believed that the Afghan envoy also raised the issue of investigations into the killing of former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani. Afghan officials claimed the suicide bomber, who had killed Rabbani, was a Pakistani national and was linked with the Quetta Shura.

Karzai tries to reassure ‘twin brother’

Sensing the likely implications of the strategic pact with India, Afghan President Hamid Karzai reached out to Pakistan to reassure the South Asian nation that the accord would not harm ties.

“Pakistan is our twin brother, India is a great friend. The agreement we signed with our friend will not affect our brother,” he told a gathering in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Karzai’s two-day visit to India comes during rising Afghan anger with Pakistan and Afghan accusations of Pakistan’s involvement in militant attacks.

The Afghan president reiterated that Afghanistan should be negotiating peace with Pakistan, not the Taliban.

“We have decided not to talk to the Taliban because we do not know their address ... therefore we have decided to talk to our brothers in Pakistan,” he said. “The peace process will now be focused more on relations between countries ... than on individuals we cannot find.”

(WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM REUTERS)

Published in The Express Tribune, October 6th, 2011. 

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COMMENTS (71)

Doctor | 8 years ago | Reply | Recommend Is ET now censoring comments which highlight the massively negative role we Pakistanis have played in Pakistan? Can we not confess for our mistakes? Can we not openly admit that the Afghani people have real reasons they do not like us and the poll numbers show that only 9% of Afghans have a positive perception of Pakistan while the number for India is well over 60%? The truth is we Pakistanis don't like the truth. We rarely tell it and our schools don't teach it. Our politicians certainly don't speak it and our Armed Forces and ISI might know it but they'll never tell it to us. We've meddled in Afghanistan too long. It has brought us no gain. We have millions of Afghan refugees that have brought poverty, violence, and drugs to our cities. We have a massive national debt and a country over run by our "strategic assets" which are backfiring on innocent Pakistanis on a daily basis.
D C Bhardwaj | 8 years ago | Reply | Recommend

Brotherly nations India+Pakistan+Afganistan will be in favour of south asia, as india is a super power in IT already by this tool we can rule world and same time reduce our poverty and take path of common progress. Yesterday India launched worlds cheepest tablet for 35 dollers and started to distribute millions of indian students. This can be also shared with our naboureing countries.

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