Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan meets Afghanistan president Ghani
“The last thing we want is turbulence in Afghanistan,” said Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. Speaking at International Conference on South Asia-Central Asia Regional Connectivity-Challenges and Opportunities at Tashkent, Imran said, ”To blame Pakistan for what is going on in Afghanistan is not fair.” He was responding to the remark made by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani regarding the ‘negative role’ being played by Pakistan in Afghanistan. Imran Khan had expressed his disappointment at the remark.
Pakistan’s foremost priority is stability in Afghanistan since it directly affects Pakistan. “President Ghani, let me just say that the country that will be most affected by turmoil in Afghanistan is Pakistan. Pakistan suffered 70,000 casualties in the last 15 years,” said Pakistan PM.
Imran Khan said Pakistan suffered economically also on account of unrest in Afghanistan. “Afghanistan is a natural land bridge between Central Asia and South Asia, and peace in Afghanistan is the most critical factor for regional connectivity. Pakistan will continue to support all initiatives for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan,” said Imran Khan.
Pakistan Prime Minister said he would not have visited Kabul in November last year if his country was not interested in peace. “You should look upon Pakistan as partner in peace. I feel disappointed that we have been blamed for what is going on in Afghanistan,” he said.
Imran Khan spoke about Kashmir calling it the core issue of dispute between his country and India. He said huge potential of cooperation remains untapped because of unresolved disputes in the region.
Ashraf Ghani said at the conference that contrary to repeated assurances by Prime Minister Khan and his generals, networks and organizations are supporting the Taliban and openly celebrating the destruction of the assets and capabilities of the Afghan people and State. He said the Pakistan leaders and generals give assurance that Taliban takeover of Afghanistan is not in the interest of Pakistan and that they would use their power of persuasion to make Taliban negotiate seriously. But Pakistan is acting contrary to the assurance. Intelligence wing of Afghanistan estimated that there was an influx of more than 10,000 jihadists from Pakistan and other place in the last month alone. He said the international observers also feel that Pakistan has not taken any step to severe its connections with the terrorist organizations.