Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will today (Tuesday) hold crucial talks on Afghanistan in London with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Afghan President Hamid Karzai during which he is likely to press the leader of the neighboring country to take action against Maulvi Fazlullah-led Taliban militants, who have taken refuge in Kunar and Nuristan provinces.
Prime Minister Nawaz departed for the United Kingdom on Monday to participate in the 9th World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) to be held at ExCel, London on 29-31 October, 2013.
On the sidelines of WIEF, the prime minister will also hold a trilateral summit with the British and Afghan leaders.
At the fourth trilateral summit involving Britain, Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Afghan president is expected to ask Prime Minister Nawaz for an access to recently-released senior Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.
Before his departure for London, media reports quoted the Afghan leader as saying that he would raise the issue of the location of Mullah Baradar with the Pakistani prime minister.
The Afghan officials reportedly allege that Mullah Baradar, deputy to Taliban supreme commander, Mullah Omar is not being allowed to move freely or access leaders of the Taliban.
Pakistan released Baradar as a part of its efforts to facilitate the Afghanistan peace process and the officials here deny the allegations being leveled by authorities in Kabul and said Baradar is free to move and see anyone he deems fit.
A diplomatic source said Prime Minister Nawaz, at the trilateral summit, was likely to urge the Afghan president to take action to eliminate the hideouts of Maulvi Fazlullah-led Swati Taliban, who were involved in terrorist acts in Pakistani border regions and had taken refuge across the border in Kunar and Nuristan provinces.
However, he said Nawaz would hold talks on Afghanistan with the British prime minister and Afghan president with an open heart and mind and not indulge in any blame game.
“Nawaz will reiterate his full support to Afghanistan reconciliation process during the trilateral talks. The prime minister will discuss ways to carry forward the reconciliation process with the two leaders,” he said.
Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, the Foreign Office spokesperson, meanwhile said the WIEF, which took birth in 2005, was business face of the Muslim world and its primary objective was to promote business and trade linkages amongst its member states through increased collaboration.
“The forum is being co-hosted by the governments of Malaysia and the UK and it is the first time that annual meeting of the forum is taking place in a non-Muslim country,” he said.
He said during the visit, the prime minister was expected to hold bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the forum with the Malaysian prime minister, the presidents of Kosovo and Bosnia Herzegovina and other leaders from the Muslim world.
The PM is being accompanied by the adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs, minister of Finance, minister of state for Commerce, minister of state for IT & Telecom, foreign secretary and a high-level business delegation including the Board of Investment chairman.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif will be joining the Pakistani delegation in London where he is scheduled to take part in the forum’s activities.
The chief minister will also participate in an Energy Conference and a Road Show being organized by the Punjab government in coordination with UK’s Baroness Warsi.