WASHINGTON: Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States Aizaz Chaudhry has said Islamabad was open to any mechanism that could bring peace to Afghanistan.
“Pakistan is open to any mechanism that may work for bringing peace in Afghanistan and the entire region,” the envoy said during a candid discussion arranged by Washington-based think-tank Indus, also featuring Afghanistan’s ambassador to the United States Dr. Hamdullah Mohib.
The ambassador reaffirmed Pakistan’s strong commitment that it will not allow its soil to be used by any militant group against any country, including Afghanistan. “If Afghanistan is stable, Pakistan is the biggest beneficiary.”
The dialogue between the two ambassadors was arranged by Indus think-tank during which the two top diplomats discussed their countries’ common interest and the challenge to their important bilateral relationship.
The think-tank noted on its website that a strengthened relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan was of critical concern to the future of both countries and to their region’s peace, stability and prosperity. The issue was also important for American strategic interest, it said.
The Pakistani ambassador emphasized that the tendency to shift blame on Pakistan for everything by Afghanistan, should be discouraged. He underscored that Pakistan and Afghanistan need to cooperate with each other in order to defeat the common enemy – terrorism – for bringing peace and stability to the region.
Speaking on the occasion, the Afghan ambassador stated that the terrorism was not a bilateral issue between Pakistan and Afghanistan but a global issue and that all the countries need to address this menace.
The Afghan ambassador also admitted that conflict in Afghanistan is far beyond Pak-Afghanistan region and involves many international players and forces and requires a comprehensive political solution for lasting peace.
Later talking to the Pakistani state-run news agency after the discussion, Ambassador Aizaz Chaudhry stated that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during a meeting with his Afghan counterpart on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Astana earlier this month, emphasized the same point that blame-game should end.
The ambassador said that Pakistan has never accused anyone without concrete proof. He said whenever cross-border involvement was found in terrorist incidents in the country, Pakistan presented proof of that.
Referring to the ongoing operation Radd ul Fasaad, the ambassador said that Pakistan itself was taking steps to improve the law and order and eliminate the menace of terrorism from its soil.
Responding to a question, Ambassador Chaudhry said that Pakistan is for an Afghan-owned, Afghan-led reconciliation process and, if in that process Pakistan can facilitate, “we are ready to do that.”
To a question about a media report on a policy review being conducted by the US State Department on Pakistan, the Ambassador clarified that any new administration when takes charge, forms its own policy. “This is a routine review and is not Pakistan-specific,” he added.
At a recent briefing, a US State Department Heather Nauert also dispelled the impression if the policy review was Pakistan-specific. She said that there were plenty of policy reviews taking place in the State Department.