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Pakistan is looking to Afghanistan to discourage terrorism: FM Bilawal

19 May, 2022
<p>CNN’s Christiane Amanpour (L) and FM Bilawal Bhutto Zardari (R). Screengrab via edition.cnn.com</p>

CNN’s Christiane Amanpour (L) and FM Bilawal Bhutto Zardari (R). Screengrab via edition.cnn.com

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said the government was worried about the increase in terrorism and the country was looking toward Afghanistan to play their role in discouraging terrorist activities across the border.

“I hope that the Taliban regime in Afghanistan lives up to its international commitments regarding terrorism, women’s education and [ensures] their soil will not be used for terrorism,” said Bilawal in an interview to CNN.

He said Pakistan was continuously monitoring the situation and working to tackle the threat of terrorism.

When asked about recognising the Taliban government in Kabul, the foreign minister said Pakistan was working with the international community on the issue and will take the decision in step with the international community.

“At the same time, we continue to advocate engagement, particularly in view of the humanitarian crisis developing in Afghanistan. We believe that it is not good for the Afghans and the region if 95% people of Afghanistan descend into poverty.”

If the Taliban lived up to their commitments it would be easier for Pakistan to back their case, and increase humanitarian support as well as efforts to stabilise the Afghan economy, he noted. “The economic collapse in Afghanistan will have disastrous consequences for the people of the country.”

In response to a question on women’s rights, Bilawal said women’s rights and girls’ education did not only concern the west, as Islam also grants these rights to people.

The first word of the Quran that was revealed was “read” and every Muslim has to pursue an education, Bilawal said adding, “the right to an education is not only a commitment between the international community and Taliban but these rights are granted by Islam.”

Recalling his slain mother, the foreign minister said Benazir Bhutto was elected as the first female prime minister of Pakistan and it was an achievement of the Islamic world. “She would have been elected thrice if she had not been assassinated.”

Bilawal emphasised “dialogue and diplomacy” as the “ultimate solution” to the situation in Afghanistan, saying the international community ultimately adopted that route.

He noted that the United States had direct communication and dialogue with the Taliban regime before their takeover of Kabul and there was a direct agreement between the two sides.

The foreign minister said the international community should look towards the future and not the past as it would not serve any purpose if Afghanistan was “abandoned again”.