Islamabad ready to engage with Taliban, says foreign secretary

Jilani says country must continue positive engagement with Afghanistan.


Kamran Yousaf March 22, 2013
Foreign secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD:


Islamabad is ready to engage in negotiations with all militant groups that can help end the decade-long war in Afghanistan and restore peace in Pakistan, a senior official said on Thursday.


“We will accommodate any entity that will be helpful in making the [peace] process successful,” Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani told reporters after attending a Senate defence committee meeting.

Jilani, accompanied by security officials, briefed the panel headed by Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed about progress in the Afghan reconciliation process.

The foreign secretary pointed out that there was consensus between the civil and military leadership that Pakistan must continue positive engagement with Afghanistan.

The statement comes just a day after Afghan President Hamid Karzai levelled fresh allegations claiming that Pakistan had either “killed or imprisoned” reconcilable members of the Afghan Taliban.

But the foreign secretary attempted to paint a rosy picture when asked about current relations between the two countries. He said the Afghan president had met the top leadership of Pakistan on 20 different occasions in 2012, adding that this year alone Karzai had held 12 meetings with the prime minister and president of Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Senator Mushahid said the defense panel will travel to Kabul next month as part of ongoing efforts to seek a peaceful end to the long-running conflict, adding that no preconditions should be attached to negotiations with Taliban.

Awami National Party Senator Haji Muhammad Adeel told The Express Tribune that he was happy with the outcome of the in-camera meeting. He disclosed that the reconciliation process with different factions of the Taliban were under way.  However, it is not clear if any progress has been made in reaching out to the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, as the militant group recently said it was suspending talks with the government.

At his weekly briefing, the newly appointed foreign ministry spokesperson Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry said a stable and peaceful Afghanistan was in the interest of Pakistan and the region.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 22nd, 2013.

COMMENTS (2)

Nobody | 8 years ago | Reply

Peace talks? How do you have "peace" talks with an organization whose soul purpose is to "govern" people through their tyrannical medieval methods and kill those who don't abide? You can't discuss peace with people who don't know what that means and don't care to learn about it. What a crock.

Enlightened | 8 years ago | Reply

National flags of India and Pakistan on either side of the Pak foreign secretary indicate as if both countries are going to hold peace talks regarding Taliban problem. Though talks by Pak govt with Taliban may not yield any fruitful results nevertheless negotiations must be undertaken to silence the political parties favouring the same and many apologists of this organisation in Pakistan. However, before holding the negotiations it should be made very clear to Taliban that failure in reaching in an agreement or any breach by them as in the past shall result in all out offensive against them.

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