LONDON: Pakistan will give its full support to any clear effort by the Afghan government to achieve a political settlement with the Taliban but does not want to lead a peace process that would impose a solution, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said on Wednesday.
Khar said Afghans were tired of attempts by other countries to take charge of their affairs and, for the good of future bilateral ties, Pakistan should not be seen to be interfering too closely.
“We will support any (peace efforts) that are Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-driven. This is our first and last pre-requisite,” Khar said in a speech at Chatham House, an international relations think tank in London.
“But we will not lead. We cannot lead ... We will only follow what our Afghan brothers and sisters decide is the course of action they will adopt,” she said.
Khar added that as long as that condition was met, Pakistan would not block any effort by any nation to assist the Afghan government in achieving a political settlement to end war in Afghanistan.
In a statement on Tuesday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai asked Pakistan “to support and facilitate our direct negotiation efforts as part of the peace process”.
“Pakistan’s support to the peace process will be crucial to its success, as well as a significant contribution to the security and stability of Afghanistan and the entire region,” Karzai said.
After a period of greater strain than usual, relations between Kabul and Islamabad have improved.
Khar said Afghans had to decide for themselves what was the best course of action to achieve peace in their country. Peace was in Pakistan’s national interest but there should be only “one centre of gravity” in the effort to attain it and that should be an Afghan-led process, she said.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 23rd, 2012.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ