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Gulf-Times

Published Date: Sep 4, 2013

Islamabad ?making genuine efforts? for Afghan peace

Islamabad has abandoned the policy of ‘double play’ vis-a-vis
Afghanistan and is making genuine efforts to facilitate an Afghan-led
and Afghan-owned peace process, the government yesterday informed the
Senate panel on foreign affairs.
Prime Minister’s Adviser on
National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz gave the Senate’s
Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs an in-camera briefing on the
government’s Afghan policy.
“We have no favourites in Afghanistan.
Our aim is to facilitate efforts in restoring long-term peace in
Afghanistan,” chairman of the committee Senator Adeel quoted Sartaj
Aziz as telling the panel.
The adviser told the committee that the
government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was following a policy of
non-interference in Afghanistan.
Aziz termed the recent visit of
Afghan President Hamid Karzai successful in decreasing the trust
deficit between the two neighbours.
Senator Adeel said that the
government acknowledged that in the past, the security establishment
solely took decisions on issues of national security.
“For decades,
we considered Afghanistan as our fifth province and made attempts to
install governments of our own choosing. This practice must come to an
end,” said Senator Adeel, who is a senior leader of the Awami National
Party.
He said the PML-N government had assured the committee that
civilian authorities would now be in charge of foreign policy
decisions.
Separately, Adviser Sartaj Aziz said that Pakistan was
committed to supporting efforts for peace and reconciliation in
neighbouring Afghanistan, where the Taliban have been fighting a deadly
insurgency for nearly 12 years now.
Addressing a seminar organised
by the East West Institute in Islamabad, he said Pakistan was keen to
continue working with Afghanistan in pursuit of connectivity and energy
projects linking Pakistan with Central Asia.
“A peaceful, stable
and prosperous Afghanistan is in Pakistan’s vital national interest,”
he added. “We remain committed to supporting efforts for peace and
reconciliation in Afghanistan in an inclusive, Afghan-owned and
Afghan-led process.”

Afghan refugees shout slogans during a
protest in Karachi, calling for government action after Afghan
refugees, said to be living in Pakistan legally, were arrested for not
having the correct documents.