Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs chairman Haji Muhammad Adeel on Tuesday expressed concern over Pakistan’s role in Afghan peace talks in Doha, raising question as to what was in store for Pakistan if Taliban regained control of Afghanistan.
Convening a meeting of the committee, the senator said Pakistan could bring Afghan Taliban to talk with the US for peace and stability in Afghanistan but the rise of Taliban was not going to be helpful in restoring peace on the soil of Pakistan.
The committee also took notice of the negative statements issued by Afghanistan and the general anti-Pakistan sentiment among common Afghans; it also showed concern over the existing tension between the two neighbouring countries despite sacrifices Pakistan made for its neighbour.
Adeel feared there lay in store yet another challenge for Pakistan in case of reemergence of Taliban regime in any form. “The government and its policy-making institutions have not chalked out any strategy to cope with the situation if the Taliban regain powers in Kabul. A force against which Pakistan provided logistic support to the US following 9/11 incident,” he added.
“I’m much concerned as to what will be the situation … I’m going to caution you that your tribal areas will not be a part of the country anymore if Taliban regained power in Kabul as a result of the ongoing peace talks with US,” Adeel warned.
The officials from the Foreign Office seemed a bit confused in responding to these fundamental questions and the committee asked to come prepared on July 17 to discuss the same issue.
Briefing the panel, Foreign Office Special Secretary Noor Muhammad Jardan said, “Pakistan has played a constructive and positive role in facilitating the opening of the Taliban office in Doha for bringing peace and stability in Afghanistan and in the region.”
He also stated that upon the request of Afghan High Peace Council (HPC), Pakistan had released as many as 26 Taliban prisoners to move the peace and reconciliation process forward.
“We hope that direct US talks with Taliban would lead to a peaceful solution of the decade long conflict. We are ready to continue to facilitate the process,” he stated, adding that Pakistan would continue its constructive engagement with the HPC and Afghan Government to support reconciliation in Afghanistan.
The foreign office had stated that Pakistan supported the policy of Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process of peace and reconciliation and hopes that establishment of Taliban office in Doha would lead to a peaceful and negotiated solution to the Afghan conflict.
The official added that there were evidences that Indian missions in Afghanistan were playing a negative role by transferring insurgency into Pakistan to destabilise the country. The office informed the committee that there were 336 Pakistani civilian prisoners and 131 fishermen detained in Indian jails.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 10th, 2013.