FO regrets media reports misquoting FM’s remarks on Taliban, IS


ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office spokesperson on Monday regretted a certain section of media for misquoting and twisting the remarks of Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi about the need for peace and stability in Afghanistan through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process.

FO Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri in response to media queries on the foreign minister’s comments regarding IS (daesh) and the Taliban said, “His remarks cannot be in any way be misconstrued as advocacy for a particular side in the Afghan conflict”.

“In fact, the foreign minister clearly spoke about consensus among the international community, the regional players and the Afghans themselves against the menace of terrorism,” the FO spokesperson said.

He said, “We have repeatedly stated that Pakistan has no favourites in Afghanistan. We see all sides in the conflict as Afghans who need to decide about their future themselves.”

He added that Pakistan would continue to play a constructive facilitation role in the Afghan peace process.

“Pakistan reiterates that right now, all energies should be focused on finding an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement to the conflict in Afghanistan,” he added.

The foreign minister, during a press conference in Multan on Saturday, was questioned on reports of IS militants moving into Afghanistan, to which he said: “If they’re moving in from Iraq or Syria then whose responsibility is it to check them? The Afghan government’s.”

“Who has to keep a watch on them and monitor them? The Afghan rulers and government have to. I hope they won’t neglect their responsibility.”

He further said neither the Afghan government nor the Taliban, Afghanistan’s neighbours or the international community wanted an IS resurgence. “There is a consensus of opinion on this. Now they have a responsibility and they should fulfil it,” he added.

Qureshi’s comments, on social media and in Afghan press, were reported as if he expected the Taliban, and not the Afghan government, to handle the situation.