At his weekly news briefing on Thursday, foreign ministry spokesperson Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry observed restraint in the face of Afghan allegations against Pakistan ranging from constructing a new checkpoint to sabotaging the peace process.
“There is a need for ever closer engagement between the two governments so that the process of peace and stability in Afghanistan can be advanced,” the spokesman said.
Islamabad and Kabul have been at odds with each other in recent weeks with Afghanistan accusing Pakistan of setting preconditions to support the peace process in the war-torn country.
The spokesman said Pakistan would back all efforts leading to the peaceful solution of conflict in Afghanistan.
On Wednesday, he said, trilateral talks were held between Pakistan, Russia and China in Beijing on the current situation of Afghanistan.
The objective of the three-way talks was to promote and coordinate the shared objective of facilitating peace and stability in Afghanistan and how best to contribute to that process, he added.
The spokesman said all three countries agreed to extend full support to the peace process.
The three parties also agreed to make concerted efforts to safeguard peace, stability and security in Afghanistan and the region, and support the “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned” reconciliation process, said a separate statement issued by the foreign ministry.
Afghan diplomat interview
Playing down tensions between Pakistan and Afghanistan, a senior Afghan diplomat said on Thursday that Kabul gives top priority to Islamabad’s role in the peace process under the three-track reconciliation strategy.
The Afghan government has put in place a three-track plan for negotiations with the Taliban and other groups – one inside Afghanistan and the other between Pakistan, Afghanistan and Qatar, the diplomat, who did not wish to be named, explained.
“The Afghan government and the High Peace Council believes in strengthening the Pakistan track as it is much more important compared to the other two,” the diplomat told The Express Tribune.
He also disputed claims by certain groups in Afghanistan that Pakistan is ‘harming the peace process.’
“Afghanistan does not say Pakistan damages the Qatar process,” the Islamabad-based diplomat said days after President Hamid Karzai’s spokesperson Aimal Faizi accused Pakistan of harming the regime’s 11-year peace efforts.
Moreover, the diplomat said that the Afghan government and the High Peace Council are criticised by opposition groups, the civil society and the public, when they say that Pakistan ‘does not implement decisions’ taken at bilateral talks.
“Afghanistan welcomed the release of Afghan Taliban detainees despite the fact that Pakistan did not consult Afghanistan in the whole process,” the diplomat said “Now the opposition, members of the civil society and the common Afghan say that the Taliban prisoners were freed on the demand by the Afghan government but the freed Taliban did not join the peace process,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 5th, 2013.
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