Kabul pessimistic about Islamabad’s approach to restart peace process
President Ashraf Ghani visited Pakistan soon after he sworn-in as president of the country, which led to normalization of bilateral relations.
His visit to Islamabad led to series of contacts between Kabul-Islamabad. Pakistan Army Chief Gen. Raheel Sharif and Director General Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) visited Kabul four times since then.
Pakistani had been holding out assurances to completely support Ghani and to bring Taliban on negotiating table with the Afghan government. The talks were expected to take place in March, 2015 but no breakthrough could be achieved in this regard.
On Friday, President Ghani chaired a meeting of National Security Council (NSC) and discussed the talks process and subsequent Pakistan’s pledge in greater detail, sources close to the meeting told Pajhwok Afghan News.
The NSC expressed grave concerns and resentment over Pakistan role for not being able to expedite the process.
A well-placed source said Pakistan initially showed interest to bring Taliban to Kabul for peace parleys but Afghan government demanded that Islamabad should stop support Taliban.
However, “Pakistan is not ready to stop supporting Taliban”, he added. A senior official in the government said Pakistan only verbally held out support to keep the peace process forward but was not willing to take practical steps.
He also said Islamabad did not ensure to stop support militants if the peace talks with the militants failed. The source also confirmed that there was difference of opinion regarding peace talks with Taliban among government officials.
First deputy of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mohammad Khan said: “Time will prove how much Pakistan is sincere when talks with militants will be held.”
Pakistan civilians and army officials pledged several times to demonstrate sincerity and take serious steps to keep the peace process toward success. But security incidents on border areas and recent surge in violence put a big question mark on tall claims of Pakistani officials. “President Ashraf Ghani has clearly said spring is a testing season for Pakistani claims. If there is increase in security incidents then it is an ample proof that Pakistani claims are not genuine,” Khan recalled.
Dr. Faiz Mohammad Zaland, a political analyst and Professor at Kabul University, said the government of Afghanistan took steps for peace but could not achieve any results. He said Pakistan played tricks and focused only on its own interests but Kabul failed to understand and accepted demands of Pakistan.
Zaland said Kabul took decision in haste and sent soldiers for training to Pakistan. He said Pakistan did not take concrete steps to address issues pertaining to peace process past. “The government can’t differentiate between friends and foes and kept India on one side only to gain the favour and support of Pakistan,” he remarked.
But Akhter Munir, press counceler at Pakistan Embassy in Kabul, said: “Pakistan is sincere to keep the peace process forward on track. Peaceful and stable Afghanistan is in the interests of Pakistan and Islamabad always support Kabul to achieve durable tranquility.”
Talking to Pajhwok Afghan News, he said that peace and stability were linked to peace and prosperity in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. Peace, he said was a process that would take time.
He expressed optimism that recent increase in diplomatic contacts between the two countries would help facilitate the peace process and leave positive impact on bilateral relations.
Abdul Hakim Mujahid, director of High Peace Council, stated that peace was the prerequisite for progress and development of both the countries. Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India (TAPI) gas pipeline project and Central Asia and South Asia (CASA-1000) project could only be implemented if there was peace and stability in the region.
Taliban and governments in the region reached to the conclusion that greater peace was the only key to regional stability and solution to problems, he said, suggesting that governments should take Taliban into confidence to pave way for talks and get the desired results.
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