Pakistan decides against attending Moscow meeting on Afghanistan

Talks with Afghanistan on intelligence and security are already underway, says FO spokesperson

By
Azaz Syed
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Zahra Baloch during a weekly press briefing in Islamabad on February 9, 2023, in this still taken from a video. — Facebook/MoFA
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Zahra Baloch during a weekly press briefing in Islamabad on February 9, 2023, in this still taken from a video. — Facebook/MoFA

  • Coordination of Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan underway on core issues, FO says.
  • Matter of sending Pak ambassador to Afghanistan under observation, she says. 
  • Pakistani missions in Turkey-Syria in touch with govts offering rescue, she adds.


ISLAMABAD: Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) spokesperson said on Thursday that Pakistan will not be participating in the conference of regional stakeholders regarding Afghanistan — which is scheduled to be held this week in Moscow.

In a weekly press briefing, FO spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch told journalists that Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan are in coordination on several important issues and currently "we do not want to divulge any particular agenda under discussion among the three".

Last week, Russian Special Presidential Envoy for Afghanistan, Director of the Foreign Ministry's Second Asian Department Zamir Kabulov told TASS that a meeting on Afghanistan will be held in Moscow.

"Yes, that’s true," he had said replying to a question on the matter.

"There will be regional participants, the secretaries of the security councils of countries in the region are invited — our Central Asian partners, as well as Pakistan, India and China," the diplomat had explained.

Baloch further briefed the press that "Pakistan's ambassador to Afghanistan Ubaid Ur Rehman Nizamani is still in Pakistan. We are observing the situation from every perspective and the foreign office has not yet decided to send back Pakistan’s Ambassador to Afghanistan".

Talks with Afghanistan on intelligence and security are already underway, she added. 

While responding to the question about the Pakistan Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir's visit to the US, she said: "We are not aware of the army chief’s trip to the US. ISPR could inform better on this matter."

Earthquakes in Turkey and Syria

The spokesperson during her press briefing expressed condolences to the deceased people, who lost their lives as a result of the earthquake that struck Turkey, Syria, and Lebanon in the wee hours on Monday. 

"Pakistan has conveyed its deepest condolences and sympathies to the victims of the earthquake that hit parts of Türkiye, Syria and Lebanon on 6 February resulting in the loss of precious lives and extensive damage to property," Baloch said.

We have extended our heartfelt condolences on the tragic loss of life and offered all possible support in the relief efforts, Baloch said while further adding: "Our support is being delivered in the form of relief assistance and rescue and support teams."

She also mentioned that there have been no reports about any Pakistani injured in the earthquake.

The spokesperson also informed the media that "our Missions in Türkiye and Syria remain in constant touch with the relevant authorities and our community to identify any requirement for the earthquake-affected areas and to provide relief to Pakistanis, who may be affected by the earthquake." 

She went on that about 23 Pakistanis have been evacuated from Gaziantep university and accommodated in Adana. Sixteen of them will be evacuated to Pakistan while the rest will be transported to Istanbul. 

"It would be informed if Pakistan would be attending the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)," the spokesperson added.