ISLAMABAD - Pakistan yesterday cautioned the United States and the world to remain ‘watchful’ of the role of spoilers who do not wish to see an end to the Afghan conflict.

Speaking at a weekly news briefing here, Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammed Faisal said Pakistan will continue to support all peaceful efforts in this regard, as it had done in the past.

“However, at this critical time, it is important to remain watchful of the role of spoilers who do not wish to see an end to the Afghan conflict. Pakistan welcomes the resumption of direct talks between the US and Taliban,” he said.

Faisal said Pakistan had always held that there was no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan. “We hope that the Peace Process is concluded soon and it leads to an intra-Afghan dialogue and reduction of violence,” he added.

He said that US Senator Lindsey Graham was an advocate of deepening and broadening of relations between Pakistan and United States. “He has always been a strong supporter of stabilization in Afghanistan,” he remarked.

FO says Islamabad positive about Taliban talks

The spokesperson strongly denounced the assassination of Japanese physician and devoted aid worker Tetsu Nakamura in Afghanistan.  He said Nakamura changed the lives of thousands of Afghan people and his work has been recognized internationally.

He added: “We share the grief and pain of the Afghan and Japanese people in this tragic incident. He said at this critical juncture, it can only be the work of spoilers who do not want to see a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.”

He said that Pakistan’s policy regarding Afghanistan was clear and Prime Minister Imran Khan had reiterated it several times, that there can only be a political solution to the Afghan conflict. “It is heartening to note that all the global powers are now coming to this conclusion as well,” Faisal said.

Pakistan, he said, desired for an early holding of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation summit to promote regional cooperation.

“All the other South Asian countries except one (India) have also expressed the desire of early happening of the summit. The 19th SAARC summit will be held in Islamabad and it is to be seen whether India wants to move forward on SAARC,” he said.

When asked about the contentious Indian citizenship legislation, the spokesperson said Pakistan and other regional countries had condemned it.  He said, this act of India was driven by a toxic mix of extremist Hindutva ideology and hegemonic ambitions in the region. He noted that voices were also being raised within and outside India against the discriminatory legislation.

Condemning the Indian excesses in occupied Kashmir, Dr Faisal said the humanitarian nightmare was worsening in the valley with continued military lockdown and complete communications blackout.

This, he said, was affecting the life and property of millions of Kashmiri people who had been cut off from the rest of the world.

Dr Faisal said, India should immediately restore internet and mobile phone services, release all the prisoners and remove all the draconian laws. He said India should allow international media and human rights observers to visit Occupied Kashmir to independently observe the situation.

He said, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi boycotted the Indian Minister’s speech at the Heart of Asia because of the prevailing humanitarian crisis in the Occupied Kashmir. “Definitely, we will continue with such appropriate steps, as per requirement,” he said.

About Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s visit to Saudi Arabia, the spokesperson said it was a scheduled visit and focused on bilateral matters and regional developments. He said Pakistan and Saudi Arabia had brotherly relations deep rooted in history and based on mutual trust and understanding.

When asked about the blacklisting of former Malir Senior Superintendent Police Rao Anwar by the US, the spokesperson said Rao Anwar is under trial for the crime he had committed.

He, however, expressed his surprise that the US treasury department failed to hold anyone responsible for the most egregious, extensively reported and independently verified human rights violations in Occupied Kashmir.

When asked to share the details of the upcoming visit of the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Pakistan, Faisal said the next session of High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council will be convened in Islamabad. “The dates of the session are being finalized. Any update in this regard will be finalised soon,” he added.

Faisal said, Pakistan-Russia Inter Government Commissions on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation are held alternately in the capitals of both the countries.  The sixth Session of Pakistan-Russia IGC was held in Islamabad from December 9-11, 2019, he added.