Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that both Pakistan and the United Kingdom have the same goals in Afghanistan — an inclusive government.
He was speaking at a working dinner in London organised by Pakistan High Commission on Sunday evening.
The foreign minister spoke on various regional and global issues, including the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s role in maintaining peace in the region, and terrorism.
Qureshi complained that the Western media was blaming Pakistan for the Afghan crisis, but it is the fault of the former Afghan leaders that plunged the country into chaos.
“Former president Hamid Karzai, who held office from 2001 to 2014, used to accuse Pakistan of interfering in Afghanistan’s internal matters,” he said.
He said that the people of Afghanistan have been the ultimate sufferers of the political chaos in the country.
“The people of Afghanistan are tired of war and only want peace and stability in their country,” he added.
Foreign Minister Qureshi criticised the West’s stance on Afghanistan and said that “they are trying to make Pakistan a scapegoat.”
“Pakistan is not a safe haven for terrorists. Western media outlets should come here and see the situation for themselves,” Qureshi maintained.
About the interim Taliban government in Afghanistan, Qureshi said that both Pakistan and the UK have unanimity in goals when it comes to the matter.
“The United Kingdom supports the idea of an inclusive government in Afghanistan, and this exactly what Pakistan wants too,” the foreign minister said, adding that while the two countries may have different approaches to dealing with the situation, the goal is the same.
Qureshi also talked about the probability of a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and urged Britain to contact the Taliban government to resolve the issue.
He warned that if the world isolates Afghanistan, then there will be a refugee problem and people will turn to Europe for help.
“Pakistan is ready to be at the centre of relief activities in Afghanistan and will extend all possible support to the people there,” said Qureshi.
Foreign Minister Qureshi is in London on a three-day official visit after the conclusion of his trip to New York where he attended the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
During his UK visit, Qureshi will meet the chairman of the British Foreign Affairs Committee, members of the parliament, and his counterpart Elizabeth Truss.