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In Geneva, Pakistan warns against role of “spoilers” preventing political settlement in Afghanistan

UNITED NATIONS, Aug 24 (APP): Pakistan reiterated its call for an inclusive political settlement in Afghanistan on Tuesday, and warned the international community against the role of “spoilers within and outside” the war-torn country to prevent efforts to promote peace and stability there.

“The international community must be vigilant about the role of spoilers within and outside Afghanistan, which have long prevented a political settlement, stoked violence in the country, and used Afghan territory to foment terrorism through UN-designated entities TTP (Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan) and JuA (Jamaat-ul-Ahrar) inside Pakistan and other countries in the region,” Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Khalil Hashmi, told the UN Human Rights Council.

Speaking in a special session of the 47-member Council on the situation in Afghanistan, he voiced concern over reports of human rights violations and urged all parties to the conflict to abide by their obligations under international law, and refrain from any action, which infringes upon basic rights and freedoms of people in Afghanistan, especially women, children and minorities.

The Pakistani envoy spoke after the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, called on Taliban leaders to respect the rights of all Afghans and warned that the treatment of women and girls is a “fundamental red line” that should not be crossed.

In her opening address, Ms. Bachelet told member states of credible reports of violations of international humanitarian law against civilians in areas under the Taliban control.

These reports, she said, make it especially important that the Geneva-based Human Rights Council work in unison to prevent further abuses, and that member states establish a dedicated mechanism to monitor the fast-evolving situation in Afghanistan and, in particular, the Taliban’s implementation of its promises.

In his remarks, Ambassador Hashmi said, “As the largest hosting country of Afghan refugees for four decades, we are also following with concern the civilian displacement in Afghanistan.

“We urge the global community to demonstrate its commitment to the principle of responsibility and burden sharing, not just in provision of humanitarian assistance but also in acceptance of Afghans seeking refuge and protection.”

The four decades of conflict, the Pakistani envoy said had served as the underlying driver of the dire human rights and humanitarian conditions in Afghanistan.

Pakistan, he said, had consistently advocated for an inclusive political settlement as the only path to durable peace, security and stability in Afghanistan.

Apart from this advocacy, Ambassador Hashmi said Pakistan has made substantial contribution to advance this shared objective– Islamabad’s input helped achieve important milestones in the Doha peace process, including the U.S.-Taliban Peace Agreement and the subsequent commencement of Intra-Afghan negotiations.

“As an immediate neighbour of Afghanistan and with vital stakes in a stable, united and inclusive Afghanistan, we support on-going intra-Afghan dialogue to shape an inclusive political settlement in the country,” he said, adding that at this juncture Afghan leaders must act with wisdom and foresight, and prioritize the supreme interests of their people above everything else.

Ambassador Hashmi also delivered a statement on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). In that role, he was able to skillfully steer the complex negotiations process, with competing priorities and proposals from diverse stakeholders.

He reiterated the OIC’s commitment to supporting an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process to reach an inclusive political settlement.

The OIC, he said, underscores the imperative of active engagement by the international community along political, humanitarian, human rights and development tracks.

“The OIC is also concerned over the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan and increased flow of IDPs and refugees. We call for full adherence to the principle of burden and responsibility sharing through immediate mobilization of necessary resources,” Ambassador Hashmi said.

“International assistance will be critical for creating conducive environment where all the people of Afghanistan can realize their aspirations for peace, security, stability and development with dignity,” the OIC statement said, adding, “Wellbeing of the people of Afghanistan, as well as sustainable peace and development should lie at the core of international support.”

According to the statement, the OIC member states and Islamic financial institutions are also stepping-up their efforts in meeting humanitarian needs in Afghanistan.

“The OIC also underscores the need for supporting Afghanistan’s neighboring states that are hosting Afghan refugees through provision of sustained support.”

The Human Rights Council also adopted a draft resolution calling for investigations and accountability for rights abuses in Afghanistan and to hold those responsible to account.

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