Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, after meeting a delegation of Afghan leaders in Islamabad on Monday, said it was “incumbent on the Afghan leadership to use this historic opportunity to pave the way for an inclusive and comprehensive political solution in Afghanistan”, according to a statement issued by the Foreign Office (FO).
The foreign minister welcomed the delegation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and later discussed with the leaders the situation in Afghanistan — which is gripped by panic following the Taliban entering Kabul and taking control of the presidential palace and President Ashraf Ghani leaving the country.
“We hope that all Afghan leaders will make efforts [for peace] in the larger interest of the country,” the foreign minister said, adding that Pakistan was determined to play a constructive and facilitative role for the restoration of peace in Afghanistan.
According to the statement, Qureshi said, “It is necessary that we work together to devise a plan of action for the betterment of Afghanistan and the region.”
“Our aim is [to work for a] peaceful, united, democratic, stable and prosperous Afghanistan,” he said, expressing hope that both the parties would work together to take the process of peace and rapprochement forward in the war-torn country.
He reiterated that Pakistan saw “comprehensive dialogue” as the only way for a political solution in Afghanistan.
“We do not want [Afghanistan’s] neighbouring countries to face the effects of turmoil and chaos over there.”
The foreign minister further stated that a keen eye would have to be kept on elements that were trying to distort the image of Pakistan, undermining its role in the negotiations in Afghanistan, which had been recognised internationally.
Qureshi added that the international community clearly wanted to see peace and a process of rapprochement initiated in Afghanistan.
He called for the international community to cooperate and provide economic assistance for making the situation better in Afghanistan.
Later, the foreign minister addressed a press conference, saying that the Afghan delegation comprised representatives from all ethnic groups residing in Afghanistan.
He said he presented Pakistan’s point of view in the meeting with the delegation and got the opportunity to understand the expectations the Afghan leaders had from Pakistan.
Qureshi said his meeting with the delegation was held at a crucial time, as it had been scheduled right before a National Security Committee meeting called by Prime Minister Imran Khan today (Monday) to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.
He further stated that the foreign minister of Denmark had called him and requested for assistance in evacuating staff from the country’s embassy in Kabul.
“We have facilitated them and 380 people have reached Pakistan. From here, they will be sent to Denmark.”
The foreign minister added that Pakistan planned to send more flights to Afghanistan to facilitate the process of evacuation.
He said Pakistan wanted the international community to remain engaged with the situation in Afghanistan so that the peace and rapprochement process there was not stalled and the chaos there was controlled.
In reply to a question, he said a National Security Committee meeting was scheduled today and the future course of action on Afghanistan would depend on what was decided in the meeting and the prime minister’s instructions.