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Friday, July 19, 2024

FM Qureshi says Taliban’s recognition can wait, no rush

FM Qureshi during the high-level meetings at UNGA sidelines said that there is no rush to recognize the Taliban till they conform to international norms. However, he asserted that keeping Afghan assets and aid frozen as leverage will be counter-productive to Afghan stability.

FM Qureshi says Taliban’s recognition can wait and a lot depend on their conformity to international norms and added that if the Afghanistan’s new leaders want the world to accept them and initiate diplomatic relations with their new government they need to show receptivity to international opinion. Only then they can get assistance in rebuilding their war-torn country and kickstart their staggering economy.

Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who left for New York on Monday to attend the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), says that Taliban recognition cant wait as the countries are observing the situation on ground very closely in Afghanistan and have linked recognition of the Afghan Taliban government on how things turn up.

“I don’t think anybody is in a rush to recognize at this stage and the Taliban should keep an eye on that,” he said. He refers to the fact that a lot of things and considerations are in the pipeline for the world and region to see before they formally recognize the new political reality in Afghanistan.

FM Qureshi says Taliban’s recognition can wait while highlighting Pakistan’s stance

If the Taliban want recognition, “they have to be more sensitive and more receptive to international opinion,” he said.

The minister said that Pakistan’s objective was peace and stability in Afghanistan and to achieve that “we would suggest to Afghans that they should have an inclusive government”. By reiterating Pakistan’s stance on Afghanistan’s new regime that we wish to see an inclusive Afghan government, FM Qureshi emphasizes on the need of such settlement. If political settlement collapse, Pakistan would see a mass exodus of refugees and spill-over of militancy which Pakistan and no Afghan neighbor can afford at any cost.

Qureshi expressed the hope the Afghan Taliban would live up to their promise that girls and women would be allowed to go to school, college and university.

But unfreeze Afghan assets, FM Qureshi

He also strongly urged the United States and other countries that have frozen money from the former Afghan government to release it because “that’s Afghan money that should be spent on Afghan people”. Although FM Qureshi says that Taliban’s recognition can wait, it does not entail that much needed humanitarian assistance to Afghan people and their rightful assets should remain frozen.

He said the most urgent priority was averting an even deeper economic collapse of the neighboring nation that could trigger a humanitarian catastrophe. The United Nations Development Program had already warned that 90% Afghan population may descend into poverty as agriculture is in doldrums and cash is tight in Afghan banks.

“On one hand, you’re raising fresh funds to avert a crisis and on the other hand money that is theirs — belongs to them — they cannot use,” Qureshi told reporters.

“I think freezing the assets is not helping the situation. I would strongly urge the powers that be that they should revisit that policy and think of an unfreeze,” he said highlighting that the “wait and see policy” of the world on releasing assets and streamlining aid is detrimental for the already deprived, distraught and poverty-stricken Afghan population.

“It will be a confidence-building measure as well and that could also incentivize positive behavior.”

Read more: Putin and Imran Khan: Speaking with one voice on Afghanistan?

The United States have frozen $9.5 billion worth Afghan assets and international lenders have stayed clear of Afghanistan, as they added that they are suspicious of the money being used by Taliban and withholding these funds is an act of leverage.

FM Qureshi arrives at New York, PK Khan to address the session through video link

FM Qureshi is currently in New York on a five-day visit during which he will attend the 76th session of the UN General Assembly and hold bilateral talks with his counterparts from other countries participating in the summit.

According to a statement issued by the Foreign Office, Prime Minister Imran Khan will address the session via a video link and will outline Pakistan’s perspective on key global and regional issues.

PM Imran’s policy address to the UN General Assembly and the foreign minister’s visit to New York reflect the development of diplomatic relations between Pakistan, its international partners and international organizations, the Foreign office added.

Qureshi was welcomed by Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN Munir Akram, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Asad Majeed and senior officials of the Pakistan embassy at John F Kennedy International Airport upon arriving in New York.

Read more: Dialogues with Taliban over inclusive Afghan government started: PM Khan

Prime Minister Khan’s UNGA address to echo Pakistan’s stance at SCO

Prime Minister Imran Khan, in his speech at 20th SCO summit and CSTO in Dushanbe, raised Pakistan’s voice on Afghanistan by urging the world to accept the new reality in Afghanistan, positively engage with the new Afghan regime, release frozen assets and help assist the war-torn country to politically and economically stabilize. Failure to do so will lead to mass exodus of refugees, spill-over of militancy and terrorism and the installment of terrorist outfits costing the region and the world the catastrophe beyond comprehension. He added that the dialogues with the Afghan Taliban have been initiated by Pakistan where it has emphasized the significance of including ethnic minorities in the new Afghan cabinet for lasting peace and political stability in Afghanistan.

Read more: PM Imran Khan speech at 20th anniversary of SCO – full text