Minister for Interior Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has said no country can ignore Pakistan as Islamabad convinced the Taliban to hold talks with the United States.

Addressing a press conference on Wednesday, the minister said that due to the diplomatic efforts of Pakistan, the US and the Afghan Taliban signed a peace deal in Doha, Qatar. Pakistan’s efforts for the peace process in Afghanistan would be remembered long, he remarked.

He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had tried to convince former Afghan president Ashraf Ghani to hold talks with the Taliban but the former Afghan president was not prepared for that.

Sheikh Rashid said that “lasting peace in Afghanistan was in the best interest of Pakistan. We will not allow anyone to use our soil against any country. At the same time, we will also not tolerate if any other country’s land to be used against Pakistan,” he added.

On the directives of Prime Minister Imran, Pakistan has offered a special package of transit visa to Afghan diplomats and senior officials, including officials of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, on their arrival at Islamabad, he continued.

He said that the government has decided to keep open all airports round-the-clock for foreign diplomats, journalists, and other officials who are coming from Kabul. The Immigration Department, FIA and other relevant staff will be available at airports to facilitate them.

Rejecting the false propaganda of Indian media regarding the situation on Torkham and Chaman borders, the interior minister made it clear that no Afghan immigrants were present there.

“The situation on these two borders reportedly remained peaceful. The route was clear for trade and transit,” he maintained.

Everything was under control on borders. However, the personnel of civil armed forces, law enforcement agencies and government officials were on high alert.

Since mid-August, Rashid said that at least 900 diplomats and staff of other embassies had been evacuated from Afghanistan. Similarly, three buses carrying Pakistani nationals reached the country via the Torkham border after Ghani’s departure.

A total of 613 Pakistanis had returned from Afghanistan. At present, around 100-120 Pakistanis were still stranded, and the mission to evacuate them would be completed within a couple of days.


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