Negotiations on to reduce tension with ‘misguided’ Afghans: FO

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ISLAMABAD, Jun 16 (APP): The Foreign Office on Thursday said Pakistan believed in the dialogue to reduce tension with Afghanistan  and efforts were afoot to “bridge the communication gap” with the “misguided Afghans”.

“Afghans are being misguided by those not interested to see peace in Afghanistan,” the Foreign Office Spokesman said at a weekly press briefing here in response to a question regarding the recent unprovoked firing by Afghan forces at the Torkham border area.

Spokesman Nafees Zakaria said Pakistan wanted to resolve issues through negotiations with the Afghan government.

“We have shared our concern and disappointment with the Afghan
government and have also urged them to take necessary steps to avoid recurrence of such incidents in future,” he said.

The Spokesman said the recent tension over Pak-Afghan border was against the spirit of friendship between Pakistan and Afghanistan, which share common religion and cultural values.

Pakistan has been making continued and serious efforts to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan, he added.

Updating about the current situation at Pak-Afghan border,  the Spokesman said both sides were in contact with each other.

“Small irritants, uneasiness and tension is a common thing among countries and can be resolved through dialogue,” he said.

Zakaria said Pakistan believed that effective border management could serve mutual interests, which was basically to  address the concerns on both sides directly relating to terrorism.

He termed the border management essentially a part of Pak- Afghan counter-terrorism efforts and said Pakistan was determined  to put in place measures to regulate cross-border movements with effective controls.

He mentioned that more gates would be constructed at the  entry and crossing points along 2400-kilometre-long porous  Pak-Afghan border and said the plan would be executed phase-wise.

About repatriation of Afghan refugees, he said it was time  for Afghanistan and international community to step forward in rehabilitating the three million Afghan refugees which Pakistan  had been hosting for over 35 years.

“It is the earnest desire of Pakistan to see peace in Afghanistan so that Afghan refugees could return to their country in a dignified manner,” he said.

About Pakistan’s efforts for membership of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the Foreign Office Spokesman said Pakistan had always maintained that rather than country-specific approach, all members states should adopt a non-discriminatory approach and a level- playing field.

When asked about the recently inaugurated dam in Afghan province Herat with Indian funding, he said Pakistan does not comment over the course of relationship between the two sovereign states.

He said like India, Pakistan too had a cooperation level with Afghanistan, besides maintaining a relationship that was based on common culture, religion and strong people-to-people bond.

To a question whether Pakistan was pursuing a defensive policy due to pressure of multiple challenges, the Spokesman disagreed and said “when it is about protecting our interests, we remain proactive.”

Replying to a question about statement of U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump as he said that people with roots in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia posed threat to America, the Spokesman said he would not comment on an individual’s statement.

Instead, he mentioned that the large Pakistani community in the U.S. had been making significant contribution to health, engineering and other sectors, which had also been acknowledged by various American leaders in the past.

About human rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir, he said Pakistan was committed to a peaceful and just situation to issue of Jammu and Kashmir and would continue to highlight the human
rights violations at international fora.