Islamabad: As the Afghan peace process is making encouraging progress towards a political solution of the conflict, Pakistan would like to reiterate its firm commitment for lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan. While Pakistan’s efforts are acknowledged and appreciated by the Afghan society and the international community, we are concerned about some negative comments which continue to emanate from certain official as well as unofficial Afghan circles.
We would continue to emphasize the mutually agreed fundamental principle that all bilateral issues including security and intelligence matters should be addressed through relevant bilateral forums and channels. Appropriate institutional forums are in place for such discourse in the relevant Working Groups of APPAPS. In addition, during the visit of Prime Minister of Pakistan to Kabul in November 2020 the two sides also agreed on further strengthening their contacts on matters related to security and peace process.
We wish to highlight that public blame game is detrimental to the Afghan peace process as well as to our shared efforts for enhancing bilateral cooperation.
Pakistan has continued to emphasize that there is no military solution to the Afghan conflict and solution of the conflict through a political process is the only way forward. Towards this end, Pakistan has been engaged in serious efforts to facilitate an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace process. During the current year, our long-held position was vindicated and Pakistan’s serious efforts facilitated important breakthroughs in the peace process, including: (a) U.S.-Taliban Peace Agreement of 29 February; (b) commencement of Intra-Afghan Negotiations on 12 September; and (c) agreement among Afghan parties on the Rules and Procedures on 2 December 2020.
As the negotiations enter an important and critical phase from 5 January 2021, the negotiators will be focusing on the substantive issues relating to a comprehensive future political settlement. In this delicate phase of the Intra-Afghan Negotiations, it is important for the negotiating parties to avoid accusations and to demonstrate wisdom, sagacity and vision for the larger objective of lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan.
Pakistan has also continued to express its deep concern at the increasing level of violence in Afghanistan during the current year. The Prime Minister of Pakistan, on several occasions, has reiterated his calls for reduction in violence leading to ceasefire.
It is important to underline the need for Afghan government to take pro-active measures to fulfill its responsibility for internal security, law and order and protection of Afghan lives. Pakistan stands ready to extend all possible cooperation in the area of security and effective border management through effective institutional collaboration.
Recently, the two countries have witnessed positive trajectory in bilateral relations with significant progress on important bilateral matters including revision of APTTA and commencement of negotiations on PTA. High level leadership contacts and bilateral visits including that of the Prime Minister of Pakistan are a manifestation of further strengthening of Pakistan-Afghanistan relations. The two sides must continue to build on the momentum and prevent domestic and regional detractors from their subversive designs.
Pakistan desires and continues to support a peaceful, stable, united, independent, democratic, sovereign and prosperous Afghanistan. It is important that Afghans should seize this historic opportunity for reaching an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement to bring an end to the decades-long internal conflict in Afghanistan.