PM Imran calls upon EU, int'l community to support rehabilitation of Afghan refugees

Imran says Afghan peace can be settled through Afghan-owned and led process, asks international community for support

PM Imran calls upon EU, int'l community to support rehabilitation of Afghan refugees
PM Imran calls upon EU, int'l community to support rehabilitation of Afghan refugees

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday called upon the European Union and the international community to support Pakistan in the rehabilitation of Afghan refugees.

The premier’s remarks came during a meeting with the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borell, on the sidelines of the Tashkent conference in Uzbekistan.

PM Imran highlighted Pakistan’s vital contributions to the Afghan peace process and intra-Afghan negotiations.

Read More: ‘Extremely unfair’ to blame Pakistan for Afghan unrest

According to him, the conflict could only be settled through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned political process in an effort to reach a comprehensive, negotiated political settlement.

He further emphasised the importance of continued engagement of the international community following the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan to facilitate lasting peace in the war-torn country.

PM Imran also expressed concern over the worsening situation in Afghanistan, and the negative impact it would have on Pakistan’s security.

Pakistan can serve as bridge connecting Central Asia to Arabian Sea: FM Qureshi

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Saturday said Pakistan has a vital interest in a peaceful, stable, united and prosperous Afghanistan, as it would enable both countries to serve as a bridge connecting Central Asia with the Arabian Sea and beyond.

The foreign minister’s remarks came whilst he was addressing the forum of Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the third Charter organ of the United Nations on its 75th anniversary through video-link.

“There are numerous shovel-ready projects awaiting peace in Afghanistan, such as TAPI gas pipeline, CASA-1000 electricity grid from Tajikistan and the railway connecting Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan,” FM Qureshi said.

The diplomat further stated that the first phase of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor was nearly complete whereas the second phase envisaged the creation of several Special Economic Zones, which were open to the participation of third countries.

“Pakistan greatly appreciates the intention of several fraternal and friendly countries, including Saudi Arabia, UAE, Turkey and others, to invest in Pakistan's economy,” the foreign minister stated.

Earlier on Friday, PM Imran rejected assertations made by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani against Pakistan for “not supporting peace”, categorically stating that Pakistan did not want turmoil in its neighbourhood because peace was in its own interest.

He added that Pakistan would continue to support reconciliation in Afghanistan. The prime minister asked Afghanistan to consider Pakistan as a “partner of peace” rather than blaming it for the ongoing unrest, which he said was the “outcome of using a military solution by the United States instead of a political one”.