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Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Pakistan against India’s inclusion in Afghan talks

Foreign Ministry spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said India has not been a constructive partner for peace in Afghanistan.

Pakistan on Thursday welcomed US efforts in the Afghan peace process, but the Foreign Ministry questioned India’s inclusion in a proposed meeting on Afghanistan under the United Nations.

During a weekly press briefing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said his country welcomes US efforts to re-energize the peace process and expedite a final political settlement.

“As for India’s inclusion in the Afghan peace process, Pakistan supports regional approaches to solving the conflict in Afghanistan. At the same time, we need to remain cognizant of the role of spoilers. Unfortunately, India has not been a constructive partner for peace in Afghanistan,” he said.

Chaudhri said that so far, Islamabad has not received an official invitation for the meeting.

Read more: Op-ed: Imran should make Afghan peace efforts conditional to RAWs push-out

“It is important to guard against the detrimental role of ‘spoilers’, both within and outside Afghanistan, who do not wish to see the return of peace in the region,” he warned.

Last week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a letter to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said Washington intends to ask the UN to convene foreign ministers and envoys of Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran, India and the US to discuss how to promote peace in Afghanistan.

Blinken also said they asked the government of Turkey to host a senior-level meeting of both sides in the coming weeks to finalize a peace agreement.

“It is important for Afghan parties to continue negotiations and pursue an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process. All sides must work together for an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement,” Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

He reaffirmed his country’s support for the Afghan peace process and said Pakistan had consistently supported the peace process and their positive contribution facilitated the US-Taliban peace agreement and subsequent intra-Afghan negotiations.

India involved in former military officer’s kidnapping

Chaudhri meanwhile accused India of being behind the abduction of a former Pakistani military officer who went missing in Nepal in 2017.

“There is strong evidence pointing towards the involvement of Indian hostile agencies in the abduction of Habib Zahir, including the involvement of Indian nationals who reportedly received him at Lumbini, made his hotel reservations and booked his tickets,” he said.

“The website that Habib Zahir was contacted from was also operated from India,” he added.

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Lt. Col. (Retd.) Mohammad Habib Zahir had gone missing in April 2017 from Lumbini, a Nepalese town near the Indian border, soon after his arrival there.

According to his family, which also insists that Zahir was trapped by “enemy spy agencies,” a person named Mark Thompson had contacted him both by email and phone for a job interview in Nepal, for which Zahir was also provided with an air ticket.

The last message that Zahir sent to his family from Lumbini said he had reached his destination. The Nepalese police obtained CCTV footage showing a man meeting Zahir at Kathmandu airport.

“Pakistan has repeatedly called upon the Government of India to cooperate and assist in locating Habib Zahir, but unfortunately, we have not received any positive response as yet,” Chaudhri said

He said that at their request, the government of Nepal had constituted a special team to look into the incident, but so far, there has been no progress in the matter.

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The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances has registered the case of Habib Zahir at the request of his family.

Chaudhri, while terming abduction a serious transnational crime, urged the international community, especially human rights organizations, to take serious notice of the matter and raise their voices for the release of an innocent individual.

Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk