ISLAMABAD, Feb 19 (APP): Head of Massoud Foundation and former ambassador of Afghanistan to the United Kingdom Ahmad Wali Massoud Friday said a strong government in Kabul was the first pillar of peace in Afghanistan.
“This entails a formula based on a decentralized system rooted in the social fabric of Afghanistan because only when people from different ethnicities are present within the fold of the system; sustainable consensus can be achieved and hence a strong institution can be built,” he added.
Ahmad Wali Massoud stated this during his address at a Public Talk organized by the Centre for Afghanistan, Middle East and Africa (CAMEA) here at the Institute of Strategic Studies (ISSI) under its Distinguished Lecture Series, according to a press release.
Members of the diplomatic corps in Islamabad, academics, civil society, and former and current diplomats were also present. CAMEA Director Ms Amina Khan gave welcome remarks.
Ahmad Wali Massoud, who spoke about the special bond Pakistan and Afghanistan shared – be it politics, economics, security, culture and religion, and said he had come with a message of friendship and peace. “Peace in Afghanistan means peace for Pakistan,” he remarked.
He said dialogue between the two countries was very important because direct discourse would strengthen the prospects for peace.
Ahmad Wali Massoud, who is on a visit to Pakistan, said like any other relationship, there were always conflicts of interests and instead of wasting time on them, competing claims from all sides should be put on the table and resolved.
He opined that both Pakistan and Afghanistan needed to define their security and economic relations, understand each other’s views, and build trust and subsequently a shared vision.
Massoud stressed the importance of achieving consensus democracy [in Afghanistan] where the people were their own representatives.
He talked about his late brother, Ahmad Shah Massoud’s contribution towards building a sovereign, inclusive and strong Afghanistan. By taking a similar stance, peace could be achieved in Afghanistan, he added.
Massoud was of the view that the people of Afghanistan had suffered for far too long and yearned for peace. According to him, values adopted by different factions in Afghanistan varied in a distinct manner, however it was important to take all of them into account if the peace process was to move forward in Afghanistan.
It was time for all stakeholders to accommodate each other, he added.
Talking about the Afghan foreign policy, he said a very balanced approach was required so that Afghanistan was not perceived as a threat nor used as a strategic tool by any party. By doing so, balance could be achieved internally as well as externally, he added.
Massoud reassured that no country would be allowed to use proxies for pursuing their interests. In that regard, he opined that the people of Afghanistan shared an unbreakable bond with the people of Pakistan, and that Pakistan had no enemies in Afghanistan.
Reiterating Massoud’s stance, Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Director General ISSI, said that Pakistan did not want Afghanistan to become a bastion of proxy wars, and aspired for a sovereign and peaceful neighbour.
The talk was followed by a question and answer session, which was moderated by DG ISSI Ambassador Chaudhry.
While answering a question on the prospects of US troops leaving Afghanistan, Massoud said he shared Pakistan’s stance regarding the need for a responsible US exit from Afghanistan, as it was the people of the region who would face the repercussions of a hasty withdrawal.
He said peace in Afghanistan was a precursor for peace and stability in the entire region.
The talk concluded with Chairman Board of Governors ISSI Ambassador Khalid Mahmood presenting the Institute’s shield to the distinguished guest.