Thursday Aug 05, 2021
Prime Minister Imran Khan has summoned two important meetings today. One is to discuss national security issues and the second is on the Afghanistan situation.
Federal ministers and senior military leadership will attend both meetings at PM House.
The national security meeting will be held at 3pm and the Afghanistan one at 5pm. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed and senior military officials will attend both meetings.
In the meeting on national security, the situation in Indian-held Kashmir will be discussed.
Important decisions relating to national security are expected to be taken, said sources.
Addressing the Islamabad Security Dialogue in March this year, PM Khan had said it is vital to understand what national security is and that it is beyond just defence.
"National security is also about non-traditional issues like climate change and food security which threaten Pakistan and its overall security," the premier had said after inaugurating Pakistan's first-ever two-day security dialogue.
The premier said the concept of national security needs to be more comprehensive. "Security of the common citizen is one of the most important issues," the PM had said.
The meeting on the Afghanistan situation is being held at a time when National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Lt Gen Faiz Hameed are in the US to discuss Pak-US relations along with the Afghan crisis.
The security adviser had told the US to remain engaged with the Afghanistan situation until a political settlement is achieved.
Peace in Afghanistan and the corresponding strategy of Pakistan will be reviewed in the meeting, sources said.
"I think the US has really messed it up in Afghanistan," PM Khan had pointed out during an appearance on PBS NewsHour, an American news programme, aired on Tuesday night.
Imran Khan said there is no military solution to the Afghan issue but the US kept trying to "look for a military solution in Afghanistan, when there never was one".
"And people like me who kept saying that there's no military solution, who know the history of Afghanistan, we were called — people like me were called anti-American. I was called Taliban Khan."
The premier said the Americans should have sought a political settlement with the Taliban at a time when they have a considerable military presence in Afghanistan. But, now after most of the US and allied forces have already withdrawn from the country, the Taliban, considering it their victory, are in no mood to reconcile.
"But once they had reduced the troops to barely 10,000, and then, when they gave an exit date, the Taliban thought they had won. And so, therefore, it was very difficult for now to get them to compromise," he told programme host Judy Woodruff.
On July 28, Imran Khan, while answering the questions of journalists from Afghanistan, said a political compromise between the Afghan government and the Taliban to form an inclusive government was the only solution to achieve peace.
“We do not have any favourites in Afghanistan. Our policy is that whoever the people of Afghanistan choose, Pakistan will have the best relationship with them,” the prime minister had said.
He had termed as unfortunate the recent statements from the Afghan government officials accusing Pakistan of supporting the Taliban.
“No country has ever tried harder than Pakistan to bring the Taliban to the dialogue table -- first with the Americans and then with the Afghan government,” he had said and mentioned that the efforts were also acknowledged by US Special Representative Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad.
The Taliban Wednesday announced to launch more attacks on the government officials. A day earlier, the Afghan defence minister, Bismillah Mohammadi, escaped their assault in Kabul.
The Afghan and US militaries have stepped up air strikes against the insurgents, and the Taliban said Wednesday the Kabul raid was their response.
"The attack is the beginning of the retaliatory operations against the circles and leaders of the Kabul administration who are ordering attacks and the bombing of different parts of the country," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement on social media.
It represents a major escalation by the Taliban, who have largely refrained from large-scale attacks in the capital since starting talks with the US on their troop withdrawal.