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Aziz spurns criticism of Pak policy on Afghan peace

Aziz spurns criticism of Pak policy on Afghan peace

Mar 01, 2016 - 10:53

WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): US Secretary of StateJohn Kerryand his Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz discussed the Afghan reconciliation process on Monday.

“The US appreciates Pakistaninfo-icon’s support for efforts to promote reconciliation with Afghanistaninfo-icon,” Kerry said in his opening address to the US-Pak Strategic Dialogue.

“Cooperation along Pakistan’s borders is absolutely essential,” the secretary of state added.

Aziz, who co-chaired the dialogue, noted growing consensus that an Afghan-led peace and reconciliation process was the best way to achieve lasting stability in Afghanistan.

“After the intense deliberation among relevant stakeholders, the Quadrilateral Coordination Group – consisting of Pakistan, the US, China, and Afghanistan – has unanimously agreed on a roadmap to take the reconciliation process forward,” he said.

“It has elements that would address US and Afghan concerns related to groups involved in violence against American troops and against Afghanistan, besides that wanting the reconciliation process,” Aziz said.

In coming days, he added, all members of the quadrilateral process would intensify efforts toward achieving broader national consensus in support of reconciliation in Afghanistan.

He hoped countries in the region would shun their objections and support efforts of the QCG to help the Afghan government bring stability to the country.  With so much capital expended on the process, another setback would be unaffordable, he noted.

Regrettably, Aziz said, there was a tendency to blame Pakistan in a somewhat simplistic fashion for most of the difficulties and challenges in Afghanistan.

“We are blamed for pursuing a duplicitous policy.  This narrative revives the unpleasant memory of the past when our relations had dipped to perhaps the lowest levels in recent years,” he continued.

Nothing could be further from the truth than to hold Pakistan responsible for the Afghan problems, he commented, asking: “Who would like to set one’s own neighbour on fire with the hope to save one’s backyard?”

Pakistan had suffered the most due to the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan, he said, adding the actions taken by his country against terrorist group of all shades in Afghanistan had been unprecedented. 

“At this critical juncture, we have to avoid blame game, admit mistakes committed by all, and closely cooperate and coordinate our respective policies,” Aziz concluded.


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