Regional, including Indian cooperation need for Afghan peace: FM Qureshi

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that although Pakistan is committed to facilitate a negotiated end to the 17-year-old Afghan war, it cannot do the task alone and that other regional countries, including India, needed to play their part.

Speaking on a point of order in the National Assembly, he said Pakistan alone could not bring peace in Afghanistan as it was a “shared responsibility” of regional countries including India, Iran, Tajikistan and China.
“Since India is present in Afghanistan, its cooperation in this regard will also be required,” said Qureshi.
The foreign minister informed the lower house that a number of meetings for peace in Afghanistan had already taken place in Doha (Qatar) and the United Arab Emirates.
He said US president Donald Trump in a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan had asked Pakistan to help and facilitate the peace process in Afghanistan which he said Pakistan was already doing. The US special envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, had also visited Pakistan thrice in this regard, he noted.
Qureshi said when Prime Minister Khan was in the opposition, he (Khan) used to say that there was no military solution to the Afghanistan conflict. Today, he said, there was a convergence of opinion after more than 15 years that Afghanistan needed a political settlement. “All the stakeholders, including the United States, Afghanistan and the Taliban, are on board,” he said.
Speaking about relations with India, the foreign minister expressed the hope that New Delhi will reciprocate Pakistan’s goodwill gesture of taking the initiative to open the Kartarpur corridor for Indian Sikh pilgrims. Qureshi said the opening of the Kartarpur border on Pakistan’s side had created goodwill for the country at the international level. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government of India “unwillingly” had to accept the Pakistani offer to open the corridor and they later approved it through a resolution in a cabinet meeting.


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