No country could want durable peace in Afghanistan as much as Pakistan

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Sunday said that no country could want durable peace in Afghanistan as much as Pakistan. US is strategic partner against war on terror and we have 70 years long relationship.

“US officials have appreciated Pakistan’s stance on Afghanistan during  meetings,” Abbasi said, adding that he did not observe a ‘threatening’ undertone during his meetings with US representatives.

The context of US officials’ statements in Congress or other forums should be understood, the premier stressed during an interview on a private channel.

“My meetings with US officials, including a brief one with US President Donald Trump, and Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif’s meetings with the US Secretary of State [Rex Tillerson] did not have any threatening undertone,” Abbasi insisted.

He added that the Pak-US relationship is not based on the Afghan-issue only, adding that the two countries share 70-year old diplomatic and military ties.

Responding to a question if Pakistan can expect positive development from visits of US officials including Tillerson and US Secretary of Defence James Mattis, Abbasi said that both countries will present their stances on different matters and try to reach a middle ground on differing opinions.

Discussing the rumours about President Ashraf Ghani’s upcoming visit to Pakistan, the PM said that he is ‘always welcome’ but the visit has not been officially confirmed yet. The Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, during a recent visit to the neighbouring country, had extended the invitation to Ghani.

The PM also said that the government will continue fencing Afghan borders to stop terrorism in Pakistan.

“We have offered solutions, including joint-patrolling with Afghan forces and training the Afghan army,” he said, adding that fencing the border is important for the country’s security as terrorist leadership has safe havens on Afghan soil from where it attacks Pakistan’s border areas.

The prime minister, referring to growing Indian influence in Afghanistan, said that India has always been involved in conspiracies to destabilize Pakistan. He added that the government is continually countering all conspiracies against the motherland.

“Pakistan is cognizant of all such schemes, and we will deal with them accordingly,” he said, categorically ruling out the prospects of prime ministerial level talks with India by stating that no such initiative was taken from the other end.

“To discuss issues, India must end gross human violations in the occupied Kashmir, implement UN resolutions, cease Line of Control violations and budge from its cold war doctrine,” he said. “We are open at all levels.”

He reminded India to accept Kashmiris right to self-determination and added that the whole world has acknowledged the Kashmiri people’s stance for freedom from Indian occupational forces.

To another question, the prime minister said that India wants to divert the world’s attention from its atrocities in the occupied Kashmir through false allegations about Pakistan’s ‘physical’ support to indigenous Kashmiri struggle for freedom.

“Even reports published by Indian media have exposed the terror unleashed by the occupational Indian forces against innocent Kashmiris,” he said, as he reiterated that Pakistan has and will continue to morally, legally, and diplomatically support the Kashmiri people in their struggle for their right to self-determination.