Monday Jul 19, 2021
Prime Minister Imran Khan reiterated Monday that peace in Afghanistan was in Pakistan's interest as a war in the neighbouring country would pose serious challenges for Islamabad.
The premier's comments came during his meeting with US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad in Islamabad, where both parties exchanged views on the prevailing situation in Afghanistan and the need for expediting the peace process.
Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad is on a one-day visit to Islamabad as part of a visit to the region.
"Escalation of conflict and instability in Afghanistan was not in Pakistan’s interest as it would lead to serious challenges for Pakistan in areas of security and influx of refugees adding that durable peace in Afghanistan would open avenues for regional economic connectivity," the premier said.
The prime minister highlighted Pakistan’s constructive efforts for facilitating peace efforts for achieving an inclusive, broad-based, and comprehensive political settlement to end over four decades-long conflicts in Afghanistan.
The premier recalled that he has consistently emphasised that there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan.
The imposition of a government by force will not lead to the resolution of the conflict and that only a negotiated settlement will bring lasting peace and stability to Afghanistan, he said.
Reaffirming Pakistan’s consistent support to a peaceful, stable, and united Afghanistan, the prime minister underlined that a secure and safe Western border was in Pakistan’s own best interest and Pakistan would like to remain closely engaged with the US and other relevant countries for peace efforts.
The prime minister emphasised the need for all Afghan sides to show flexibility and engage meaningfully with each other.
PM Imran Khan added that as suggested by him at the recent Central Asia and South Asia Connectivity Conference in Tashkent, it was important for Afghanistan’s neighbours and regional countries to constructively work together for a lasting political settlement in Afghanistan.
Separately, US Embassy in Pakistan, in a statement, mentioned that Khalilzad had met PM Imran Khan and Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa today.
Khalilzad, during the meetings, had said: "Continued war in Afghanistan poses a risk to the entire region and holds back its development."
Peace, by contrast, will enable regional connectivity and increased trade and development, the special representative said.
"Tangible and material support for the Afghanistan peace process is vital for its ultimate success, as are positive long-term relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan," he added.