PRIME Minister Imran Khan held a frank and straightfor ward interaction with a media delegation, attending Pak-Afghan Media Conclave, setting record straight on a number of issues that constituted the main elements of the propaganda campaign being launched against Pakistan by some vested interests.
He pointed out that three million Afghan refugees are still living in Pakistan and it was next to impossible to keep a perfect watch on 25,000 to 30,000 of them crossing the Durand Line daily.
The PM emphasized that Pakistan is neither responsible for what the Taliban are doing nor is it their spokesperson.
He also dispelled the impression that important foreign policy decisions are taken by the military saying that the army does not control Pakistan but it fully supports the decisions taken by the Government in the realm of foreign affairs.
The interaction of the Prime Minister with Afghan journalists was a step in the right direction as it afforded an opportunity to clear misgivings on different aspects of the Afghan situation that have been created by a false narrative by anti-Pakistan forces.
Pakistan has not only repeatedly declared at the highest level that it has no favourites in Afghanistan but also proved this through consistent practical efforts aimed at restoration of peace to that country and resolution of the conflict through a political dialogue.
The Prime Minister, therefore, aptly stated that no country has ever tried harder than Pakistan to bring the Taliban to the dialogue table — first with the Americans and then with Afghan government.
The Afghan situation would have been quite different had other stakeholders reciprocated the sincerity of Pakistan for the cause of durable peace in that country.
As for illegal movements across Pak-Afghan border, Pakistan has long been emphasizing the need to take measures on both sides of the border to discourage free for all movements in the name of family and clan ties as well as trade and business.
On its part, Pakistan initiated a comprehensive border management plan involving fencing of the long border (a project which is expected to be accomplished shortly) to check illegal crossings and smuggling but the Afghan side never cooperated and instead opposed the move tooth and nail.
Similarly, Pakistan has also been urging the Afghan authorities and the international community to rehabilitate Afghan refugees inside Afghan territory as their continued presence is a source of many social problems including law and order situation.
In the presence of millions of refugees as well as illegal entrants, who are being misused by foreign agencies, how can Pakistan be blamed for their wrongdoings? Pakistan also has to take extraordinary measures at the cost of billions of rupees to cope with any negative fallout of the emerging Afghan situation and, therefore, its sincerity towards the cause of genuine peace in Afghanistan is quite understandable.
It would be a futile attempt on the part of some elements in Kabul to blame Pakistan for the volatile situation in Afghanistan when the Taliban themselves have categorically stated that they were not under the influence of Pakistan.
The allegations about sneaking of about ten thousand militants from Pakistan into Afghanistan is also a crude attempt to malign Pakistan as these are mere hollow claims devoid of any substance or evidence.
Imran Khan also briefed the media-persons about the outcome of the investigations into the alleged abduction of the daughter of Afghan envoy in Islamabad, adding that her account about taxi drivers does not tally with what the (CCTV) cameras showed.
Hopefully, the propaganda would stand further exposed when an investigation team from Afghanistan visits Pakistan and the findings are shared with it.
As for who rules the country, it is quite obvious that an elected democratic government is in place, which takes decisions on all internal and foreign policy issues but, of course, with input from relevant institutions and stakeholders. This is happening all over the world and Pakistan is no exception.