- Foreign Ministry official cites Pak’s role as facilitator, says will facilitate second round if Afghan govt formally requests
- Expert says Pak can bring Taliban to talks table but not help with ceasefire, terms China’s role significant in Afghan peace
Pakistan has taken serious note of the recent tirade of strong statements by Afghan President Dr Ashraf Ghani but has however decided in principle to not to respond in the same language and play any role it can in peace talks if the Afghans make a formal request.
Dr Ghani – who had started a friendly course with Pakistan soon after taking over the reins and had the first round of Pakistan-hosted peace talks in Murree – used strong language against Pakistan after attacks by Afghan Taliban in Afghanistan, especially Kabul.
On the other hand, the Afghan Taliban have also refused holding the second round of peace dialogue with the Afghan government, terming the Afghan government a “puppet of the US which cannot take independent decisions”.
An official in the Ministry Of Foreign affairs on anonymity told Pakistan Today that the Afghan government did not respond positively to the sincere efforts by Pakistan for Afghan peace.
“We would respect the desire of Dr Ghani on peace process. We have no intention to play any role if the Afghan government does not want us to do so,” the official said, adding that Pakistan’s role has been to facilitate the process and not be a part to the conflict.
“Pakistan’s role is of a facilitator. Pakistan would act when and if desired. It’s up to the Afghans to decide about the talks. We facilitated the dialogue on request of the Afghan government. We would only be ready to facilitate the second round of talks if the Afghan government makes a formal request,” the official said.
The official added that Pakistan had taken a note of the statement made by the Afghan side. “We are willing for peace but would only act when requested,” the official added.
Soon after Dr Ghani’s comments last week, Foreign Office spokesman Qazi Khalilullah had also said that Pakistan was committed to maintaining good neighbourly relations with Afghanistan.
“We have taken note of the press conference by the Afghan president held in Kabul and its contents relating to Pakistan,” the spokesman had said, adding that terrorism was our common enemy and it requires cooperative approach to combat this menace.
‘PAK CAN ARRANGE TALKS NOT STOP ATTACKS’:
Eminent experts on Afghan situation however express divergent views on the fate of Afghan peace dialogue.
An expert on Afghan affairs, Salim Safi, believes that the lull in the peace dialogue was short and sooner than later, both sides would return to the talking table.
“Afghanistan wants Pakistan to at least push Taliban for a ceasefire if immediate talks are not possible. Yes, Pakistan can urge the Taliban to the dialogue table but ceasefire is too huge a demand for Pakistan to meet,” Safi told Pakistan Today.
“Other than the intelligence agencies of the top countries, even the spooks of regional players like India, Russia and Iran others are also active in Afghanistan. These intelligence operatives are contributing to the aggravate the situation and making it more complex,” he added.
Moreover, Safi terms the recent strong statements by the Afghan president a result of internal pressure he is facing following unprecedented attacks across Afghanistan.
‘CHINA, PAKISTAN KEY TO TALKS’:
Furthermore, Safi said that with the launching of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the Chinese leaders now understand that the success of the CPEC is interlinked with peace in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
“So in the developing scenario, peace in Af-Pak region is dearer to China than Pakistan or Afghanistan. Since China is all for peace and it has full support from Pakistan, I hope both would succeed in making both the parties to agree on a political solution to Afghan conflict,” he added.
‘AFGHANS MISS THE BUS’:
On the contrary, Tahir Khan, another noted journalist, says that the Afghan government have missed the bus and the Afghan Taliban are not inclined to resume peace process.
“Taliban have refused to restart the peace talks. They don’t want to sit with Afghan government on the dialogue table anymore. They say that Afghan government is puppet of the US and it has no powers to take independent decisions,” Tahir Khan told Pakistan Today.
He says that Afghan government was responsible for stalemate in the dialogue process by making “unrealistic demands and also blaming Pakistan for its own follies and failures”.