Minister appreciates Taliban’s desire to become part of CPEC

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Ijaz Kakakhel
Islamabad

Appreciating Taliban’s desire to become part of multi billion dollars China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on Monday said the soil both Pakistan and Afghanistan would not be used against each other.

Talking to journalists, the interior minister said the CPEC is the jugular vein of Pakistan, and the friendship between Pakistan and China is higher than the Himalayas.

He said Pakistan is proud of its friendship with China and if the Taliban hold similar views, then it is really good.

The minister made these remarks in response to a query from a journalist, who quoted the Taliban spokesperson as expressing desire and reportedly pressing for Afghanistan’s inclusion in the CPEC.

The Interior Minister said that those who perpetrated recent suicide attacks in Gwadar and Mastung had come from Afghanistan.

He said the Afghans have assured that they will not allow their land to be used against Pakistan. He said Pakistan desires peace and stability in Afghanistan. He said progress of Pakistan and Afghanistan is interlinked.

“It has been barely six days since the withdrawal of the US troops from Afghanistan on August 31 and a government is yet to take shape in Kabul,” Rasheed said, addressing concerns about attacks taking place despite the Taliban’s assurance.

Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed said stakeholders in both countries have assured each other that they won’t allow their soils to be used for cross-border attacks. He added Pakistan wants peace, stability and prosperity in the war-ravaged country.

To a question about the influx of refugees from Afghanistan, the minister said the government would decide the fate of Afghans who crossed into the country without any valid travel document.

Sheikh Rasheed said India had to bite the dust in Afghanistan with all its designs to disturb Pakistan falling flat.

The minister lashed out at India, saying that it has been defeated in Afghanistan and that it is the “only country in the region that has faced humiliation repeatedly.”

Rasheed shot down speculation of the presence of any refugee camp in Pakistan for Afghans, saying that such claims are “absolutely false” and part of “India’s baseless propaganda.”

“We have assured Afghanistan that our land will not be used against them,” Rasheed noted, adding that he will discuss the issue in detail once the Taliban form their government in Afghanistan.

Rasheed added that Afghanistan has also vowed not to let anyone use its territory against foreign countries.

He also shed light on other issues and said that the issue of the Chaman border would be resolved by September 12. Answering a question about Pakistan’s internal politics, Rasheed said PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto, Shahbaz Sharif, and Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s politics have “come to an end.”

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