Pakistan has no favourites in Afghanistan, all sides should work together for peace, stability: Qureshi

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi Friday said Pakistan had no favourites in Afghanistan and its message to all sides was to work together constructively for peace, stability and prosperity.

It would open new vistas for trade, economic cooperation and regional connectivity, he added.

The foreign minister was talking to the head of Massoud Foundation, Ahmed Wali Massoud, who called on him here. The exchange of views focused on the Afghan Peace Process and Pakistan-Afghanistan bilateral relations, a press release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

Qureshi welcomed Ahmad Wali Masood’s visit to Pakistan and lauded the historic contribution of Commander Ahmed Shah Massoud as a key Mujahedeen leader during the Afghan resistance.

As regards the Afghan peace process, he highlighted Pakistan’s facilitation of the US-Taliban Peace Agreement and the commencement of Intra-Afghan Negotiations.

The foreign minister stressed that the historic opportunity must be seized by the Afghan leaders to achieve an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement.

He expressed serious concern over the current level of violence and underscored that all sides must take measures for reduction in violence leading to ceasefire.

The foreign minister also underlined the need for being vigilant about the role of “spoilers”.

He said Pakistan had taken a number of steps to further strengthen bilateral cooperation and people-to-people linkages, including opening of border despite COVID-19, introduction of friendly visa regime, and scholarships for Afghan students.

All the measures, he added, were practical manifestation of Pakistan’s desire for closer ties with Afghanistan.

Qureshi also appreciated the role of Massoud Foundation in the social sectors and noted that it could play an important part in promoting civil society and people-to-people exchanges between the two countries.

The foreign minister expressed the hope that the Afghan peace process would achieve its desired objective of return of peace and stability in Afghanistan. He reaffirmed that Pakistan, on its part, would continue to play a constructive role.