Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that Pakistan’s efforts to evacuate people out of Afghanistan are “not being acknowledged” by the international community.
Talking to Al Jazeera, Qureshi said at present Pakistan is engaged in an evacuation mission in Kabul which is an immediate challenge for the international community.
The Pakistan embassy in Kabul is working round the clock with planes flying into the city and getting people out, including diplomatic personnel and staff of international organisations, he said.
“Are we being acknowledged? No. We are not even being mentioned in the list of countries that are helping evacuate people,” he regretted.
Foreign Minister Qureshi pointed out that Pakistan had been a victim in the war on terror.
“We have 80,000 casualties. We [bore] economic losses of over $150 billion. We had to deal with two million internally displaced people. We are hosting over three million Afghan refugees the world has forgotten,” he said.
“We are not responsible for 9/11. Pakistan was not involved in it,” Qureshi said, adding Pakistan was asked to “do more” when it engaged with the international community with sincerity.
“We were doubted; we were questioned; we were telling the world that the kind of government imposed in Afghanistan does not enjoy political support. There is corruption. There is misgovernance. Nobody listened,” he remarked.
Brushing aside the criticism of Pakistan for the situation in Afghanistan, Qureshi said that Pakistan wanted to be a partner in peace and could be the most trusted interlocutor in the evolving situation.
“Listen to Pakistan. Stop scapegoating Pakistan. Pakistan wants to partner in peace. Pakistan can be the most trusted interlocutor in this evolving situation,” the foreign minister said.
He said Pakistan wants an inclusive government in Afghanistan that respects human rights, though the initial statements from leadership indicated a new approach.
The foreign minister said Pakistan had been a facilitator of peace which had been acknowledged internationally too.
Qureshi said Pakistan had been calling to keep the negotiation process in tandem with the date of withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. Despite the fact that it was not consulted before giving the date of withdrawal, Pakistan remained positive.
QURESHI TALKS TO RUSSIA, TURKEY, OIC MINISTERS: Foreign Minister Qureshi spoke with his counterparts from Russia and Turkey and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) about the situation in Afghanistan.
In his conversation with Russia’s Sergei Lavrov, Turkish Mevlut Cavusoglu and OIC’s Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen, Qureshi emphasised that a “peaceful and stable” Afghanistan was “extremely important” not just for Pakistan, but also for the entire region.
Talking to Lavrov, he noted that Pakistan and Russia, being a part of the “Troika Plus” — which also includes the US and China — played a pivotal role in Afghan peace efforts. “The path to lasting peace in Afghanistan can be paved through a comprehensive political settlement,” he said.
The minister emphasised that ensuring the security of Afghan citizens and protecting their rights should be the first priority in the current situation. The two foreign ministers also agreed to continue mutual consultations in the light of changing situation in Afghanistan.
In his talks with Cavusoglu, Qureshi apprised him of Pakistan’s facilitative role in evacuation of personnel of embassies, international organisations, media entities and others. He said that the current situation in Afghanistan required sustained international engagement to ensure stability.
Reiterating Pakistan’s support for a peaceful and stable Afghanistan, Qureshi stressed that an inclusive political solution was the best way forward. Cavusoglu appreciated Pakistan’s role in the current situation and thanked Qureshi for facilitating Turkey’s evacuation efforts.
In a separate phone call, the foreign minister also spoke with OIC Secretary General Al-Othaimeen, according to a statement issued by the Foreign Office. Qureshi underscored the importance of ensuring safety, security and protection of the rights of the Afghan people.
The foreign minister said that it was also important for the Muslim world to show solidarity with Afghan people in their quest for a “peaceful, united, stable and prosperous” Afghanistan. “The success of negotiations in Kabul would not only benefit Afghanistan but also the region.”
Noting the significance of efforts towards establishing an inclusive government, the foreign minister warned of the spoilers within and outside Afghanistan, who wanted to take advantage of the situation in the country.
The OIC secretary general apprised the foreign minister of an extraordinary OIC executive meeting that has been convened in Jeddah at the level of ambassadors/permanent representatives on Sunday, to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.