National Security Adviser (NSA) Dr Moeed Yusuf has said that stable Afghanistan would eventually help avert future refugee crisis and ensure peace and development in the region.
In an interview to BBC World News programme Hard Talk by anchor Stephen Sackur, the NSA highlighted multiple aspects of the foreign policy, relations with Afghanistan and economic objective under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.
About current Afghan regime and global response, Dr Moeed said: “There is a government that many don’t like and it is not recognized … but there are 35-40 million Afghans who have nothing to do with this.” “Lets agree that they need to be fed immediately”, he added.
He said the world community may opt for dialogue with Taliban and added “Our message to the Afghan Taliban is identical to what the world is saying…. more inclusivity, no terrorism from Afghan soil, human rights for all and this what we want.”
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He quoted the UNDP Head in Afghanistan who said: “It is the worst economic crisis and humanitarian disaster we have ever witnessed” in the war-torn country.
Dr Moeed said: There are 22.8 mln people facing acute food shortage, 70 percent apportioning food, one million children acutely malnourished.
“Pakistan is the country that helped more than any other country and evacuated 49,000 people of 75 countries and created a land and air bridge to Afghanistan free of cost,” he said, highlighting the country’s assistance to NATO forces when leaving Afghanistan.
He regretted that the donor agencies like UN and ICRC were pointing out that no funds could be brought into Afghanistan due to embargoes on banking channels.
The NSA informed that Pakistan shared 1,600 miles border with Afghanistan and added after hospitality of four decades, four 4 million refugees were still in Pakistan. “Compare this to the EU, UK and US reactions towards refugees, shown up to your shores,” he asked the anchorperson.
We have a 1600 mile porous border with Afghanistan, and 4 million refugees – if Afghanistan heads towards instability and collapse, Pakistan will be harmed the very next day. pic.twitter.com/IAklnjQsi1
— اسریٰ (@freakonomist5) December 8, 2021
“The moment Afghanistan is unstable, my country goes unstable as we have a centuries old porous border which will cause refugee, terrorism, drugs flow over into Pakistan,” he added.
He said Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that Pakistan wanted a stable government in Afghanistan as in case of any instability or collapse, it would be adversely affected.
“As NSA of Pakistan, it is my right to tell the world that the way the international community is approaching Afghanistan, it is heading for collapse and we are going to get hurt by it,” he noted.
He said Pakistan was not the one that brought war to Afghanistan, rather was the principal victim of this war. “We didn’t have suicide bombings in our country before 9/11. Since 9/11 over 80,000 causalities of Pakistanis which the West just likes to wish away. Over a $150 billion lost in the economy, 3.5 million internally displaced persons, and millions of Afghan refugees,” he added.
Dr Moeed said that Pakistan was duly recognized by the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US) for facilitating the Doha peace process whose end point would have been a genuinely inclusive government.
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The NSA took exception to the opening remarks of the anchorperson and said: “I object to your opening presenting as if Pakistan was behind all what happened. We didn’t aid or abet anybody…. there was a policy employed by the US and others who were in Afghanistan.”
There was always a policy failure in Afghanistan and Pakistan was the only country that took the stance that there was no military solution in Afghanistan, he added.
To a question, he said: “When I talk about Kashmir, I am talking about my people not foreign nationals and also an illegally occupied territory (IIOJK) recognized as a dispute by the United Nations (UN) and this is my right to speak about my people and not speaking about any foreign country at that point in time”.
Commenting on the Pak-US ties and CPEC, he said Pakistan had a major transition in its approach from a geo-strategic to geo-economic paradigm. “It’s one key pillar is connectivity and the other is development partnerships,” he added.
He said : “Pakistan is offering economic bases to the entire world for increased investment in the region under the game changer CPEC project as per its major policy shift from geo-strategic to geo-economic paradigm.”
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The NSA, explaining the CPEC project, said Pakistan had a strategic relationship with China and this was going from strength to strength. “But that is not at the cost of any other country that is what our geo-economic paradigm is all about,” he added.
He pointed out the CPEC was energy and road infrastructure that anybody could benefit from and invest in Pakistan.