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Thursday, February 9, 2023

Khan, Boris discuss Afghan engagement and flight restrictions

Boris Johnson called Imran Khan on wednesday, acknowledging Pakistani efforts in the safe evacuation of people. Imran Khan shared his views on extending bilateral and international cooperation in the future.

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On Wednesday, Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan received a call from his British counterpart, Boris Johnson. They exchanged views on the rapidly changing environment of Kabul and especially with regards to the safety of the Afghan and foreign civilians.

He also asserted the need for ensuring the safety, security and respect for rights of all Afghans. PM Imran also underscored the importance of an inclusive political settlement in Afghanistan.

The PM highlighted the rigorous efforts and positive role of Pakistan in facilitating the safe evacuation of diplomatic personnel and staff of international organisations and others from Afghanistan. The two prime ministers agreed to remain in contact concerning the evolving situation in Afghanistan.

“The prime minister [Johnson] stressed his commitment to work with international partners to avoid a humanitarian disaster in Afghanistan and the wider region,” a Downing Street spokesperson said after the call with PM Imran.

Read More: Must stay engaged with Afghanistan, Imran Khan to Merkel

In the bilateral context, the Prime Minister highlighted the extensive measures taken by Pakistan to contain the Covid-19, noted that the relevant data had been shared with the UK side, and called for the removal of Pakistan from the Red List.

Previously British MPs and Pakistan had vehemently opposed the UK for not removing Pakistan from its travel red list

Read More: Pakistan lobbying to exit UK Red-list on Aug 25

Earlier, PM Imran Khan had also received a phone call from German councillor Angela Merkel who acknowledged Pakistan’s efforts. PM Khan told her that the international community must remain committed and engaged with Afghanistan. This week, the Danish Prime Minister also called PM Imran Khan. He thanked him for Pakistan’s support in the timely and safe evacuation of Danish personnel from Kabul.

 Currently, the UK has signalled for an emergency G7 meeting in Afghanistan that has also called for Russia and China to join. The UK reaching out to Pakistan for its commitments in Afghanistan can be a step towards Pakistan embracing a seat at the G7 someday.

Read More: The world has failed the people of Afghanistan, says the UK

Pakistan has received much attention for its honest and positive role amidst chaos in Kabul. Despite being an active actor in the international community, Pakistan has been blocked by the Indian presidency at the United Nations security council (UNSC).

Pakistan has been consistently taking the first step to stabilise the region, so while there are setbacks on diplomatic fronts at the UNSC, the international community is still acknowledging Pakistani efforts.

Read More: Pakistan furious on India blocking it a second time from speaking at UNSC on Afghanistan