Islamabad: No country can “ignore” Pakistan as it convinced the Afghan Taliban to hold dialogue with the US, Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed has said as he boasted of Islamabad’s significant role in ensuring peace in Afghanistan.
Pakistan’s efforts for the peace process in Afghanistan would be remembered for long, he said on Wednesday.
“No country can ignore Pakistan as it has played a significant role in bringing the US and Taliban to the negotiating table”, The News International quoted Ahmed as saying.
He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had also tried to convince Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to hold talks with the Taliban but he was not prepared for that.
He also said the decision to recognise any likely Taliban government in Kabul rested with Prime Minister Khan and his Cabinet.
Ahmed said on the directives of Prime Minister Khan, Pakistan has offered a special package of a transit visa to Afghan diplomats and senior officials on their arrival in Islamabad.
He said that the government has decided to keep open all Pakistani airports round-the-clock for foreign diplomats, journalists, and senior officials of the IMF, World Bank, etc who are coming from Kabul.
Rejecting media reports of tension at the Torkham and Chaman borders with Afghanistan, the minister made it clear that no Afghan refugees were present over there.
“The situation on these two borders reportedly remained peaceful. The route was clear for trade and transit,” the minister said.
He said 613 Pakistanis have so far been brought back from Afghanistan since August 14.
The minister said that Pakistan has also evacuated about 900 diplomats and foreign journalists from Afghanistan.
He said Pakistan advocates peace and a peaceful and stable Afghanistan is in the interest of the country.
Separately, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told a gathering in Multan on Wednesday that the propaganda by Ashraf Ghani’s ousted government against the Taliban proved false as the insurgents have announced a general amnesty and are not barring girls’ education, according to Dawn newspaper.
Entire world knows there was a corrupt setup and system in Afghanistan, he added.
He claimed the world was contacting Pakistan for resolution of the Afghanistan issue, considering it a responsible country.
Qureshi said on the direction of Prime Minister Khan he was going to visit Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan and Iran to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.
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