By: Monitoring Desk
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Thursday that Pakistan has not stopped Afghan trucks from taking goods to India despite Pakistan’s suspension of trade with India.
Talking to delegates of the Pak-Afghan track-II dialogue at the Foreign Office Qureshi said Afghan trucks are allowed to cross Wahga border and take goods up to the Indian border town of Attari.
Afghanistan had long been demanding Pakistan to allow its land route for trade with India, but Islamabad rejected the facility in view of disputes with India.
Qureshi’s statement indicates a major shift in Pakistan’s policy amid tension with India following Indian government’s decision to revoke the special status to Indian-held Kashmir.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said in June this year he had sought assurance from Pakistani leaders to allow his landlocked country to use Pakistani land route for exporting goods to India.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan and other Pakistani officials agreed during meetings that Afghan trucks would be allowed to cross the Wagah-Attari border and delivered goods in India. Similarly Pakistan will be connected with Central Asia via Afghanistan,” Ghani had told a gathering of Afghan refugees and students during his visit to Pakistan.
Qureshi while speaking about Pakistan’s efforts to cement relationship with Afghanistan rejected the notion of Pakistan quest to seek “strategic depth” in Afghanistan and said Pakistan does not believe in such approach.
He Pakistan does not have any favourite in Afghanistan and will work whoever is elected by the Afghan people for peace and development for improved bilateral relations and trade.
The foreign minister said he has invited his Afghan counterpart for a trilateral meeting along with China to be held in September.
He said Pakistan fully supports the Taliban-US talks in Qatar and also back the intra-Afghan dialogue for peace and stability in Afghanistan.
Qureshi said Prime Minister Imran Khan has always opposed military solution to the Afghan problem and that he was Taliban Khan for this approach.
Talking about visa problems he said Pakistan has been trying to improve the system and soon Afghans will have the facility for online visa system.
He admitted there is corruption in Pakistani visas by both Pakistani and Afghan side corrupt mafias and warlords are exploiting the situation. But he promised to fix it like Torkham border 24/7 opening.
He suggested that Kabul and Islamabad should avoid blame game and recent visit of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has improved the ties between the two neighbours.
On bilateral ties between Pakistan and Afghanistan, he mentioned that five working groups under Afghanistan, Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS) have been set up and hoped that the new mechanism will be helpful for resolving differences between the two countries.