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Pakistan extending ‘every possible facility’ to Afghans: FM

Updated 17 Dec, 2021
FM Shah Mahmood Qureshi says Pakistan is helping Afghanistan on humanitarian grounds. Reuters
FM Shah Mahmood Qureshi says Pakistan is helping Afghanistan on humanitarian grounds. Reuters

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Friday said the government was extending “every possible facility” to Afghan citizens, stressing that peace in the neighbouring country was in the interest of the world.

“Peace in Afghanistan is in the interest of the world, and Pakistan will continue to play its positive role in this regard,” the FM was quoted as saying in a statement in view of the upcoming meeting of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers on Afghanistan’s humanitarian crisis.

FM Qureshi expressed fear about the prevailing situation adversely affect neighbouring countries.

He said: “Pakistan is helping Afghanistan on humanitarian grounds.” The FM urged the international community to consider bringing improvement to the situation in Afghanistan.

He mentioned that the NATO commanders, who had served in Afghanistan, were also expressing concern over the deteriorating situation of the country.

Interaction with journalists

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said the upcoming OIC meeting would prove to be a “stepping stone” in finding solutions to the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, with members of the international community and the Taliban coming at the same platform.

“By hosting the event, Pakistan is playing a positive role by bridging the communication gap between the world and the Taliban,” he said in an interaction with journalists on Thursday. FM Qureshi was accompanied by Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, State Information Minister Farrukh Habib and Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood.

Pakistan is scheduled to host the 17th Extraordinary Session of the OCI Council of Foreign Ministers on Afghanistan on December 19, according to the FM.

The FM confirmed that a Taliban delegation headed by the interim foreign minister would participate in the upcoming moot besides the special representatives of the United States, Russia, and China.

“Pakistan wants the Taliban to listen to the concerns of the international community relating to human rights in particular,” he said, “Pakistan is not the spokesperson of the Taliban. It only wants to bring the stakeholders to the OIC platform to directly get across their points of view.”

“Pakistan is not the spokesperson of the Taliban. It only wants to bring the stakeholders to the OIC platform to directly get across their points of view.” -- Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi

He said the country’s focus was on improving the lives of Afghan people and dismissed the impression that holding the OIC meeting on Afghanistan was a step towards recognising the government.

Qureshi was of the view that the moot offered a “rare opportunity” for peace in Afghanistan. “The whole region will benefit if things go right. But in case of the situation moving the wrong way, all gains will come to a nought.”

He recalled that during his meetings with his counterparts in New York and the recent meeting with the High Representative of the European Union Josep Borrell in Brussels, he discussed in detail that Afghanistan would be facing a tough situation if the EU did not take any action.

Qureshi said that 75 per cent of the budget of Afghanistan was dependent on external assistance, however, pointed out that their monetary reserve of $9.5 billion was frozen.

The foreign minister urged the international community to understand that any chaos in the wake of the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan would lead to the strengthening of terrorist organisations.

“All the efforts and foreign investment of 20 years in Afghanistan besides the loss of innocent lives will prove futile with the rise of a new wave of terrorism,” he said, adding that the situation would not only affect Pakistan, but other countries of the region – including Iran and Tajikistan, and even Europe.

The foreign minister thanked the Saudi Arabia for calling the Extraordinary Session on Afghanistan, to be attended by several important countries such as Turkey, Iran, Indonesia, Malaysia, and other Arab and African countries.

Moreover, Information Minister Fawad said that 22 foreign ministers from OIC states, eight senior officials, and other representatives of the member countries had so far confirmed their participation in the conference.