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UK vows to extend humanitarian assistance to Afghans: UK State Secy

UK state secretary on Friday during a joint press conference with FM Qureshi claimed that UK would continue to extend humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan irrespective of the fact that they recognize or do not recognize Taliban government. Also, both sides consolidated matters of mutual interests between Pakistan and UK and talked about formulating a constructive dialogue on Kashmir.

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UK vows to extend humanitarian assistance to Afghans with or without recognizing the new Taliban regime in the country. This statement was put forth by UK State Secretary Dominic Raab on Friday who added that extending humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan is a matter that transcend recognition of Taliban government.

He calls this as an urgent need of the people given the fact that one third of 39 million people in Afghanistan are living beyond poverty line and facing grave food insecurity issues. In addition, Raab mentioned the positive stance of the Taliban is indeed a laudable step in ensuring good governance in Afghanistan and is beneficial for the region, yet we should take this stance with a metaphorical grain of salt.

“Taliban are positive at the level of words, yet we need to test them first”, he stressed.

Read more: Afghanistan: Taliban-led government just around the corner

Humanitarian assistance through UK-established “line of communication”

Addressing a joint press conference along with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the British State Secretary said whether the UK recognized the Taliban government or not, it would like to have a “line of communication through aid agencies” to extend humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.

He said Britain would increase development funds for the neighboring countries of Afghanistan to ensure helping out the Afghan people crossing over the borders.

Cementing areas of “mutual interests” with Pakistan

Raab highlighted that the decision of keeping Pakistan in the “red list” banning travel had created an adverse impact on Pakistani and British-Pakistani nationals.

He commended the efforts of the government of Pakistan in addressing the coronavirus situation, however stressed that the UK’s decision was “in shared interest amid domestic and global challenges”.

Raab said his discussions with FM Qureshi focused on commonalities of interest and finding out the ways to further strengthen ties in diverse areas.

UK to foster constructive dialogue over Kashmir

To a question on the human rights violations in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, he said the UK would encourage both Indian and Pakistan to maintain a positive and constructive dialogue to resolve the issue.

Foreign Minister Qureshi said Pakistan and the UK enjoyed close collaboration in various areas of bilateral interest.

FM Qureshi said during the meeting that he apprised the British State Secretary the treatment meted out to the body of late Kashmiri leader Syed Ali Geelani denying a decent funeral for him.

He said India could not curb the sentiments of Kashmiri people by resorting to such aggressive tactics.

Read more: Taliban: right to fight for Muslims in Kashmir

UK agrees on Pakistan’s stance on Afghanistan

To a question if Pakistan’s relations with the Taliban would be conditional, he said as a neighbour, the country had no other choice but to coexist with Afghanistan.

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“So our approach has to be somewhat different and realistic [towards a government in Afghanistan],” he said.

Qureshi said whatever the conclusion of Doha talks would be, Pakistan had ‘no favourites’ in Afghanistan.

He said Afghanistan had the population comprising different ethnicities, adding that it was in the interest of the country to adopt an inclusive approach.

“We will engage with a government in Afghanistan that has the backing of its people. We want to help the people of Afghanistan,” he said.

He said if Afghanistan was left unattended, the country could fall victim to civil war.

Read more: Munir Akram presents Pak’s vision, urges countries to support Afghanistan

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