ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that Pakistan has no favourites in Afghanistan, and reiterated that Pakistan’s message to all sides is to work together constructively for a peaceful, stable, and prosperous Afghanistan.
Talking to the Head of Massoud Foundation of Afghanistan Ahmed Wali Massoud who met him at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad on Friday, Qureshi said that lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan would open new vistas for trade, economic cooperation, and regional connectivity.
In the meeting, both sides exchange views focusing on the Afghan peace process and Pakistan-Afghanistan bilateral relations.
Qureshi welcomed Wali Massoud’s visit to Pakistan and lauded the historic contribution of Commander Ahmed Shah Massoud as a key Mujaheedin leader during the Afghan resistance.
As regards the Afghan peace process, the foreign minister highlighted Pakistan’s facilitation of the US-Taliban peace agreement and the commencement of Intra-Afghan Negotiations.
The foreign minister stressed that this historic opportunity must be seized by the Afghan leaders to achieve an inclusive, broad-based, and comprehensive political settlement.
However, he expressed serious concern at the current level of violence and underscored that all sides must take measures for reduction in the violence leading to a ceasefire.
The foreign minister also underlined the need for being vigilant about the role of “spoilers”.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi highlighted that Pakistan has taken a number of steps to further strengthen bilateral cooperation and people-to-people linkages including the opening of the border despite COVID-19, the introduction of friendly visa regime, and scholarships for Afghan students.
The foreign minister emphasized that all these measures are practical manifestations of Pakistan’s desire for closer ties with Afghanistan.
Qureshi also appreciated the role of the Massoud Foundation in the social sectors and noted that it could play an important part in promoting civil society and people-to-people exchanges between the two countries.
The foreign minister expressed the hope that the Afghan peace process would achieve its desired objective of return of peace and stability in Afghanistan. He reaffirmed that Pakistan, on its part, will continue to play a constructive role.