Pakistan only ‘facilitating’ Afghan peace process: FO

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Terming ‘positive’ the recent Doha talks between Afghans and Taliban, the Foreign Office Thursday said Pakistan is receiving ‘wide acknowledgment and appreciation’ from the stakeholders for its facilitatory role to help continue the peace process.

“Our efforts to facilitate the groups concerned to continue negotiations for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned solution to the conflict are getting recognition,” Foreign Office Spokesman Dr Faisal said at a weekly press briefing. The spokesman, however, clarified that Pakistan’s role was purely meant to facilitate the process. “We repeat, we are playing a facilitatory role and will continue to do so. Our position is nothing more than a politically negotiated intra-Afghan solution to the conflict,” he said, adding that Pakistan will continue its policy to support international efforts meant for a durable and sustainable peace in Afghanistan.

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The two-day peace talks attended by representatives of Afghan government and Taliban in Doha on July 8-9 concluded with both sides calling to end civilian casualties and pledging to guarantee protection of the public institutions. The Afghan leaders had earlier met in Pakistan’s Bhurban town in June, which was followed by the visit of President Ashraf Ghani to Islamabad.

On upcoming meeting between Pakistan and India on Kartarpur Corridor on July 14, the FO spokesman said the delegations will negotiate the agreement from around 9 am to 1 pm at the Wagah border. He refused to share further details, saying ‘Pakistan will honour the sanctity of the agreement not to reveal information to media before time’. However, he said a press conference will be held after the meeting for an update for the public consumption.

Pakistan, India set to meet on Sunday to finalise draft agreement on Kartarpur Corridor modalities

About verdict on Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav due to be announced by the International Court of Justice on July 17, the spokesman said Pakistan is hoping for the best. “However, we cannot pre-judge the decision since the matter is sub judice,” he said, adding that Pakistan presented its stance in the best possible manner through a fully prepared team including the counsel, the attorney general and other officials at the February’s oral hearings at ICJ.

On recent tensions between United States and Iran vis-a-vis nuclear deal, he said Pakistan desires all members of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to negotiate the issue through dialogue.

He said Pakistan is fully implementing the UN Security Council sanctions related to North Korea. He categorically stated that no work visa has been issued to any of North Korean national.

The spokesman appreciated the recently launched second report of Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights that documented the atrocities in Indian-held Kashmir (IHK). However, he stressed that there is no comparison of IHK with Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan, as the latter two are open for foreign visitors.

The spokesman confirmed that Pakistan’s high commissioner-designate to India has received Agreema and will join his duties in near future.