‘Unaware Afghan Taliban delegation came to Pak’

Pakistan supports QCG process for Afghan peace

Sophia Siddiqui

Islamabad—Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Saturday said he was “not aware” if any delegation of the Afghan Taliban had recently come to Pakistan in relation to peace talks with the government in Kabul.
Aziz’s statement comes as news reports quoted officials as saying that three senior Afghan Taliban members travelled to Pakistan this week and held a series of meetings with Pakistani officials in Islamabad, mainly to brief them about the recent talks held in Qatar between the Afghan Taliban and Kabul.
A report by the Associated Press quoted the Afghan ambassador to Pakistan Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal, an unnamed Pakistani official and a senior Taliban official as having knowledge of the meetings.
Speaking to local media, Sartaj said: “Delegations keep coming, they have come in the past but right now there is no confirmation on the matter.”
He said everyone was trying for peace in Afghanistan and if there is consensus on how to take the dialogue forward, the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) – the four-nation group working for reconciliation in Afghanistan – could be approached.
When asked if he saw the Afghan Taliban becoming a part of the government in Kabul in the future, Aziz said that remains to be seen, adding that a lot of steps will have to be taken before that stage could be reached.
Speaking to the Associated Press, Afghan ambassador to Pakistan, Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal, said he was aware of the meetings held this week but refused to offer details. According to a senior Taliban official, the Taliban who were sent to Pakistan were Mullah Salam Hanifi and Mullah Jan Mohammed, both former ministers in the Taliban government, and Maulvi Shahabuddin Dilawar, a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
While not confirming the visit of Taliban group to Pakistan which according to a foreign news agency visited Pakistan this week to brief Pak authorities about their talks with the Kabul government, Foreign Office Spokesperson Nafees Zakariya has said that his country has always supported every Afghan related peace process.
Pakistan supports the QCG process for peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region, said the foreign office spokesperson while talking to this correspondent.
The spokesperson reiterated that peace in Afghanistan is in the interest of Pakistan. He said Pakistan will support and facilitate every Afghan related peace process.
According to a foreign news agency three Afghan Taliban leaders held talks with Pakistani officials, to brief them about the recent talks held in Qatar between the Afghan Taliban and Kabul.
According to the news report, Afghan ambassador to Pakistan, Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal was aware of the meetings but did not offer any details.
The meeting was confirmed by a Pakistani security official, who stated that Islamabad was playing its role to ensure peace in neighbouring Afghanistan.
Responding to a question about ongoing Indian atrocities in occupied Kashmir, the spokesperson said Indian troops are committing genocide in the held valley. He said International Community should come forward to stop these atrocities on defenseless Kashmiri people. He said India considers itself as a big country but is not ready to implement the UN Security Council resolutions on the lingering dispute.
The spokesperson said, “We continue to sensitize the world about the Indian atrocities in held valley. Pakistani Diaspora is also playing an important role in this regard.”
He pointed out that the Kashmiri people have been denied their religious rights. For the last seventeen weeks they have been barred by Indian troops to gather for Friday congregations but the international community is silent on it.
He said the Kashmiri people are forced to offer prayers on roads during which the Indian troops either subject them to torture or detain them.
The spokesperson regretted the detention of Kashmiri leaders urging Indian government to release them immediately saying the move was aimed at suppressing the Kashmiris’ voice.

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