Peace in Afghanistan not our weakness rather strength: Dr Moeed Yusuf

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WASHINGTON: National Security Adviser Dr Moeed Yusuf said on Monday Peace in Afghanistan is not our weakness rather strength as the world owes to bring peace in the war-torn country and Pakistan would bear maximum impact as its affectee in case of any violence.

The NSA addressing a media conference at the Pakistani Embassy in Washington DC, said the purpose of this visit was to have a follow up of his engagement with the US NSA Jake Sullivan on 23 May in Geneva which was the first physical high-level interaction with the Americans.

Dr Moeed while elaborating the agenda of his official visit said Afghanistan was the most immediate and important matter of discussion but it was agreed that Pakistan and US would work in multiple domains including climate change, health and covid, commerce and investment.

He added that in the Geneva meeting it was decided that in end July NSAs would take stock of the progress as teams were working on both sides since then. There has been elaborate work out here on the Pakistan’s strategy in this regard, the NSA said.

The NSA confirmed that the meeting with his US counterpart was the main engagement where the discussion was very forthcoming and positive. The meeting was of the mind that the collaboration was significant and it was necessary to join heads for future as the way things were developing in the region, he said, adding, “We got a positive response for moving forward.”

Pakistan and US, he said have to work more closely now in the prevailing situation as the security vacuum being created post-withdrawal of US forces in Afghanistan.

“No other nation can work on shared threats in the region other than Pakistan and the US, like instability in Afghanistan. However, Afghan soil was and is being used against Pakistan which is a serious concern and needs to be stopped,” Dr Moeed said.

While enunciating the security threats, he said Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) based in Afghanistan was a threat for Pakistan and there were also groups targeting other regions in the world which was the US’ interest. Both the countries could jointly work in this domain, he added.

“There has been a positive response on the collaboration between US and Pakistan. Political reconciliation in Afghan issue is the major step that could be taken and would help reduce pressure,” the NSA highlighted.

He briefed the media men that all the discussions were technical including commerce and investment etc and only those issues having Pakistani interest were discussed during the official engagements.

“We decided that we would work on substance rather than optics at this point because in this relationship there was expectation-reality disconnect and we recently publicly thanked US for vaccine doses donated by the US which underscored our commitment towards bilateral ties,” he added.

Recent US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry meeting with SAPM on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam in London depicted the mode of working with the US administration on bilateral issues, he said.

“Our model is that every sector in charge to take up his agenda and develop a work plan to proceed on this process. We want to be proactive on explaining Pakistan’s perspective on issues and how will it proceed further,” he said while explaining Pakistan’s strategy to proceed in bilateral collaboration with the US.

He underlined that Pakistan was not in the position to bear more burden of refugees and neither in the favour to let Afghans displaced from their territories. “Pakistan is doing whatever it can and will do further but Afghan forces have to decide their future whereas the US leadership can facilitate and it should take political leadership in the process,” Dr Moeed said.

Pakistan has no choice to consider half hearted perceptions of failure in reviving peace in Afghanistan whereas it was more critical to say that what economic plan does the world had for Afghanistan, he noted.

“Pakistan-US can work in this field as its CPEC can be extended to Afghanistan and manufacturing plants could be set up near border to use afghan raw material for export-goods that will finally benefit Afghans,” he suggested.

He added that without peace in Afghanistan, Pakistan could not provide Central Asian countries its ports that are core of its geo-economic vision. “We want to remain partner with US on mutual interests as both sides agree to continue working together,” he said.

Responding various media queries, he said there was third soil used against Pakistan and eastern neighbour (India) was involved into it whereas a dossier was presented to the world that left no doubts against Indian clandestine designs and terror financing against Pakistan.

“The world including US is saying we are together in fight against terrorism but the incidents of terrorism have increased unfortunately,” he said.

Pakistan, he said had a two-fold stance, no undesirable movement across the international border where it completed 97% fencing in the toughest terrain with new forces, fortresses and mechanism in place as no unwanted movement to be allowed across the border.

“Anything to be decided by Afghanistan, is their decision and any movement or event there has nothing to do with us,” he clarified.

“Dignified repatriation of Afghan refugees is must and Pakistan has given the most hospitable refuge to the migrants in the world. They have the right to return, overwhelming majority of Afghan refugees are law abiding whereas certain elements take benefit of that to propagate against us,” he mentioned.

“It’s a life and death matter for us and once to have peaceful Afghanistan. Afghan stakeholders once sat together could certainly come out with any conclusion,” the NSA said.

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