Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has made it clear that only the Afghan people had the right to decide the fate of their country and that Pakistan had no favourites in the country.
The prime minister was talking to a delegation of Afghan journalists that is currently on a two-day visit to Pakistan to participate in the Pak-Afghan Media Conclave organised by the Pak-Afghan Youth Forum. The Afghan media delegation asked questions on a wide range of subjects varying from Pakistan’s Foreign Policy, its influence over the Afghan Taliban and the country’s possible role in peace and stability to Afghanistan.
They also inquired about the update on the alleged kidnapping of the Afghan ambassador’s daughter and called for trust building between the two countries.
Pakistan not a spokesperson for Taliban
Imran Khan said Pakistan was neither “responsible” for the actions of the Taliban nor was it in any way their spokesperson.
Whatever the Taliban are doing has nothing to do with us and we are not responsible for that, said the Pakistani premiere.
Islamabad, said the prime minister, wanted peace in Afghanistan as it was crucial for Pakistan’s own stability and peace.
Khan said Pakistan was ready and willing to do anything necessary for a peaceful settlement of the Afghan issue, however, he ruled out use of force against the Taliban.
We believe that Afghanistan cannot be controlled from the outside. Our policy is to have the best relationship with whoever the people of Afghanistan choose, said the premier.
Khan said it was unfortunate that Pakistan was being blamed for the Afghan crisis as it is Pakistan that convinced the Taliban to come to the negotiation table.
Civil war in Afghanistan to spill over to Pakistan
What interest would Pakistan possibly have in case there was a civil war in Afghanistan? We would do everything short of military action against the Taliban as doing so would only drag Pakistan into a conflict, said Imran Khan.
Khan said that the civil war would spill over to Pakistan’s areas which would have a catastrophic impact on the country’s social, economic fabric. In the past too, at least 70,000 Pakistanis were killed when the country took part in the US-led war on terror.
About provision of military bases to the US in Pakistan, Imran raised the question of what the US would possibly achieve from operating out of Pakistan which they could not achieve by operating inside Afghanistan for two decades.
Kidnapping of Afghan ambassador’s daughter
On the alleged kidnapping of the Afghan ambassador’s daughter, the premier said a detailed mapping of the routes taken by the ambassador’s daughter on the fateful day had been done.
Unfortunately, the account of the ambassador’s daughter does not correspond to her statement.
We have analysed the footage and the police have also interrogated all three taxi drivers. She could be seen sitting perfectly fine where she said she was beaten, the PM said.
He added that the Pakistani authorities could not question the ambassador or his daughter as the envoy and his family returned to Afghanistan, but the footage would be handed over to the Afghan delegation so that they could ask them.
The Afghan media persons left for Afghanistan on Thursday after meeting with the prime minister and attending various interactive sessions with the Pakistani counterparts.