ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that the Biden administration should work to further accelerate the efforts for Afghan peace process.
In an interview with Al-Jazeera, he said that Pakistan is ready to work with the new US administration regarding Afghan peace process.
Qureshi said Pakistan hopes for greater engagement with the new United States government and called on President Joe Biden to follow up on the ongoing Afghan peace process and withdrawal of US troops from the country.
“I think they (Biden administration) should realize there is an opportunity in Afghanistan and they should persevere with what was initiated and not reverse things,” he said. “Push them forward, because, after a long time, we have started moving in the right direction,” he said.
Declaring Modi government as aggressive and irresponsible, the foreign minister said that the responsibility of initiating talks lies with the neighboring country. He believed the international community had stepped in to reduce tensions between the two countries, although he did not have “first-hand information” of any such communications.
He further said that before coming to the negotiating table, India would have to reverse its decisions regarding Kashmir, adding that at present there was no contact with India at any level and the world powers know how dangerous war in South Asia can be.
Regarding, Afghan peace process, FM Qureshi said that Pakistan was only playing the role of facilitator for peace in the neighboring country, adding that the responsibility for peace in Afghanistan lies with the Afghan leadership and it is their country.
The minister went on to say that he always advised the Taliban to join the mainstream whenever he met with the Taliban leadership and after coming to the negotiating table, the Taliban are now bound by international law.
“The spoilers of peace are responsible for recent violent activities in Afghanistan,” he said and stressed the need to move forward on intra-Afghan negotiations and asked Afghan leadership to lead these talks.
Last month, a delegation from the Afghan Taliban’s Political Commission (TPC) met Qureshi and other top Pakistani officials in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad. “I have had a number of meetings [with them], and I have been telling them … and convincing them, please come into the mainstream,” said Qureshi. “You have come to the table, and by coming to the table you have earned respectability to a large extent in the international community.”
Qureshi said Pakistan aimed to have broad-ranging ties with Afghanistan, and that its ultimate goal was regional connectivity after peace was established in its northwestern neighbour.
“It is not going to be an easy ride. It is going to be difficult, the road is going to be bumpy and it’s going to be time-consuming, one has to understand all of that,” he said.