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    Islamabad neutral on row over security deal: Aziz

    KABUL (PAN): Pakistan insists it is following a policy of non-interference in Afghanistan, asserting its neutrality on the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) row between Kabul and Washington.

    Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Wednesday told the upper house that peace in the neighbourhood remained a top priority of the government. In order to promote the cause, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had visited Afghanistan and India.

    Winding up a foreign policy in the Senate, Aziz took great pains to reject the impression that Pakistan was fighting proxy wars. Islamabad had no favourites in Afghanistan and its policy of non-interference had helped improve bilateral relations, he added.

    He believed 2014 presented both challenges and opportunities for Afghanistan, where three kinds of transition -- political, economic and security -- was underway. Pakistan remained neutral on the issue of BSA and the residual ISAF presence after 2014.

    During his recent visit to Afghanistan, the advisor said, Nawaz Sharif had assured President Hamid Karzai that Pakistan would not interfere in Afghanistan's internal affairs. A proxy war in Afghanistan must be avoided as it would further deteriorate the situation, he concluded.

    PAN Monitor/mud