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Pakistan asked not to interfere in intra-Afghan affairs

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Afghan Peace Process is a golden opportunity for Pakistan to play smart diplomacy, experts

News Desk

Islamabad

Afghan Peace Process is a golden opportunity for Pakistan to play smart diplomacy with continuity as Pakistan has a lot to gain from this peace process. Pakistan should not interfere in intra-Afghan affairs, which is not in its interest.  Instead Pakistan can help Afghanistan economically, and facilitating Afghan refugees, which will help build confidence between two countries.

This was the crux of views expressed by diplomats, analysts and journalist at a seminar on “Afghan peace process — implications and stability”, organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) at Islamabad on Thursday.

Pakistan should also focus on CPEC plus by expanding the multi-billion-dollar project to Afghanistan which is in the interest of both China and Pakistan

Former Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir regretted that stakeholders have not paid any attention so far towards social and economic development of Afghan people.

Faced with destruction since long, Afghanistan’s economic stability is more important in the political and peace processes, than any other thing.

He suggested that Pakistan should also focus on CPEC plus by expanding the multi-billion-dollar project to Afghanistan which is in the interest of both China and Pakistan.

Mr Bashir cautioned that US may withdraw its troops if consensus is not reached during the peace process till mid of this year which could result in civil war and chaos in Afghanistan.

However, he stressed on the need for gradual US withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Former ambassador Ayaz Wazir said that Pakistan should support Afghan-owned and Afghans-led peace initiative and should pursue its own interest instead of meddling in the intra-Afghan affairs.

Pakistan should support Afghan-owned and Afghans-led peace initiative and should pursue its own interest instead of meddling in the intra-Afghan affairs.–Ayaz wazir

Pakistan is not prepared to handle Afghanistan, as we failed to handle our tribal areas. He said that today, writ of Afghan government has reached at historic low and Afghan Taliban have been controling over 70 percent of the total territory, which pushed the stakeholders, especially the US to initiate talks with the extremist Islamic militant outfit.

As Afghanistan’s presidential elections are due in April this year, Afghanis including, Taliban would never accept any political setup similar to the incumbent government.

Responding to a question he said that India during peace process would remain quiet and wait for its opportunist time. He proposed that if both countries’ intelligence agencies signed a memorandum of understanding on mutual cooperation, sharing cross-border intelligence that would prove a real corner stone for building confidence between Afghans and Pakistan.

Senior analyst Imtiaz Gul said that the progress towards the recent Afghan peace process has seen change in last couple of weeks. He said that effort for peace and stability in Afghanistan is a shared and regional responsibility of all stakeholders. Efforts should be made to take Iran and Russia on board to make the negotiations a success and meaningful.

“Effort for peace and stability in Afghanistan is a shared regional responsibility which should include Iran and Russia to make the negotiations a success and meaningful.–Imtiaz Gul

Responsibility also lies on Taliban that they should give guaranty to the stakeholders that all minorities in Afghanistan would remain unharmed and there would remain ceasefire till peace talks conclusion, he added. He further said that we have to develop a comprehensive strategy and policy for Afghan refugees to counter the negative propaganda.

Another retired ambassador Shafqat KakaKhel said that every country including Pakistan and Afghanistan has a major stake in the peace and stability.

We should think about economic depth rather than strategic depth in Afghanistan.–Shafqat KakaKhel

The SDPI board chairman also stressed on the need for mutual cooperation, saying that there is a tremendous potential of medical tourism between Pakistan and Afghanistan, where Peshawar city can be a hub for medical tourism.

We should think of economic depth rather then strategic depth where we have around $5 billion trade potential.

He said that Pakistan should not only contribute in restoration of peace but also sustainability which would reinforce the unity among the two states.

Dr Shafqat Munir, Senior Adviser and Director Resilient Development Programme of the SDPI said that Afghanistan always remained a key diplomatic challenge for Pakistan on security and internal political front.

As Afghan peace process enters a new phase, it is hoped that the peace and stability would prevail in the region, he added.

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