Friday Oct 01, 2021
ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi Friday lashed out at "Pakistan's neighbours, lobbies" for having a hand in the US bill tabled by Republican senators that seeks sanctions against Pakistan for its alleged role in aiding the Taliban.
The foreign minister was holding a joint press conference with his Danish counterpart, Jeppe Kofod, after the two held delegation-level talks earlier.
FM Qureshi thanked Kofod for Denmark's support for Pakistan's GSP Plus status. He said the two spoke at length about the Afghanistan issue, adding that both sides had mutual interests in Afghanistan.
"Pakistan has been affected by militancy in Afghanistan," he noted. "We don't want terrorists to regroup in the country."
He spoke about the US bill that seeks sanctions against Pakistan, saying that Pakistan seeks to defend itself and believes in cooperation.
"The US Congress must understand Pakistan's role [in Afghanistan crisis]," he stressed. "Lobbies and Pakistan's neighbours are behind the bill [that has been tabled]."
FM Qureshi said Pakistan should not be scapegoated for the Afghan crisis, saying that Islamabad had played a leading role to restore peace in the country.
The Danish foreign minister said his country did not recognise the Afghanistan government led by the Taliban. He said Denmark had reservations over the Taliban's treatment of women.
The foreign minister said Pakistan enjoys strong ties with Denmark but admitted that a lot needs to be done to further enhance bilateral cooperation.
He said the two sides discussed ways to put in extra efforts to increase bilateral trade and attract more investments into Pakistan. The foreign minister said cooperation in renewable energy and advantages of enhanced parliamentary interaction were discussed.
Kofod said both countries were interested in promoting bilateral ties, especially in the sectors of trade and energy. He recognised Pakistan's role in the Afghan crisis, noting that Pakistan played a crucial role in evacuating Afghan citizens and others from the war-ravaged country.
A couple of days ago, Republican senators tabled a bill in the US Senate, demanding a deeper investigation into the Taliban's victory in Afghanistan and sanctions on the group as well as those who assisted them in driving out the Ashraf Ghani-led regime.
The 'Afghanistan Counterterrorism, Oversight, and Accountability Act' seeks to establish a task force that will focus on the continued evacuation of American citizens, legal permanent residents and Special Immigrant Visa holders from Afghanistan.
Introduced by 22 American Republican senators, the bill seeks to tackle issues related to the Afghan withdrawal, such as counterterrorism strategies and sanctioning the Taliban for alleged human rights abuses in the country.
The bill said that assessment of "support by state and non-state actors, including the Government of Pakistan, for the Taliban between 2001 and 2020, provision of sanctuary space, financial support, intelligence support, logistics and medical support, training, equipping, and tactical, operational, or strategic direction" should be held.