High Commissioner for Pakistan in Dhaka briefs journalists on Afghanistan
“Mr. Imran Ahmed Siddiqui, High Commissioner for Pakistan in Dhaka briefed local media on Pakistan’s position on Afghanistan and the evolving security situation in Afghanistan.
Giving a perspective on the situation, the High Commissioner recalled that the Prime Minister of Pakistan Mr. Imran Khan had consistently called for a peaceful settlement of the Afghanistan dispute. In line with this guiding principle, the Government of Pakistan facilitated Doha peace process. However, unanticipated developments led to Kabul’s take over by Taliban. These developments included unwillingness of then Afghan forces to resist. What was important was avoidance of bloodshed in the wake of take over.
Pakistan had noted formation of caretaker setup in Afghanistan and it hoped that the political situation would further stabilize. Afghan people had suffered a lot due to the conflict in their country for over 40 years.
The High Commissioner further said that Pakistan hosted an Afghan delegation with members from all political parties of Afghanistan in August 2021. Later the Foreign Minister of Pakistan Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi visited Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Iran where in-depth discussions took place on the evolving situation in Afghanistan and an agreement was reached on further coordination of positions in order to address common challenges. These challenges included security situation along borders, possibility of refugees influx, prevention of Afghan soil from being used by terrorist organizations and challenges relating to drug trade as well as Covid-19 pandemic.
The Foreign Minister of Pakistan hosted a meeting of Afghanistan’s neighbours on 8 September 2021 in a virtual format. Joint Statement issued at the conclusion of the meeting, among other issues, expressed support for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Afghanistan; reiterated support of the neighbouring countries to help bring peace to Afghanistan; stressed the need for an open and inclusive government structure; cautioned against the possibility of role of spoilers; affirmed the importance of sustained international engagement; reiterated that the terrorist organizations should not be allowed to maintain a foothold in Afghanistan; urged international community to provide adequate predictable and regular financial support to Afghanistan; and agreed to continue consultations.
Responding to a question, the High Commissioner briefed the media on Pakistan’s active role in evacuation efforts from Afghanistan after Kabul take over. He informed that thus far Pakistan facilitated evacuation of over 12,000 individuals from around 30 countries. The evacuees included, among others, diplomatic personnel and staff of international organizations. He further informed that Pakistan has cautioned against the creation of an environment that could trigger a wave of migrants from Afghanistan. In this regard all relevant actors including international media needed to play a positive role.
Responding to another question on Pakistan’s role in the war on terror, the High Commissioner said that Pakistan had played a role of frontline state in the war against terror. 80,000 Pakistanis were killed in terrorist attacks in Pakistan and thousands more injured. The economy of Pakistan suffered an estimated loss of US$ 150 billion. Over 100 terrorist attacks were launched against Pakistan in 2021 alone. The terrorist attacks on Pakistan were supported by hostile intelligence agencies operating from Afghan territory.
In reply to a question regarding Pakistan’s favorites inside Afghanistan, the High Commissioner strongly rejected the impression that Pakistan had any favorites in Afghanistan. He stressed that Pakistan was positively engaged with all Afghans and the neighbouring states. It has been emphasizing that rights of all the Afghans should be fully respected and protected by all. In addition, it supported an inclusive government in Afghanistan.
The High Commissioner further urged the international community to pay closer attention to looming humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan which could affect millions of Afghan people. In this connection, he mentioned the UN Secretary General’s initiative to convene a high-level Ministerial meeting on the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan. Pakistan is already providing humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, he added.
Referring to a statement of UN Special Representative Lyons, the High Commissioner mentioned the need to allow Afghanistan access to its financial resources to prevent deterioration of the economic situation there which could negatively impact the existing security situation.”
Pakistan High Commission in Bangladesh
Sept. 12, 2021