• publish: 4 March 2016
  • time: 9:30 am
  • category: Politics
  • No: 3524
Hikmat Karzai:

‘Afghanistan needs no hospital, but policy changes from Pakistan’

Afghanistan does not want hospitals or roads from Pakistan, rather needs it to change those policies “that have caused destruction in the past decades” and continue to do so, Afghanistan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Hikmet Karzai said on Thursday.

He was talking to a delegation on the sidelines of a Pak-Afghan Track 11/1.5 in the Afghan capital.

According to a press release, Beyond Boundaries, an initiative launched by Islamabad-based Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) – in partnership with its Afghan counterpart organisation, DURAN Research and Analysis (DRA). “No amount of funding, dams or hospitals will help the bilateral relationship as much a perceptible change in the policies that have harmed Pakistan as much as Afghanistan and we need to collectively fight the consequences of those policies,” the Afghan minister said.

Karzai acknowledged that as of now, Pakistan has been forthcoming as far as its commitment to the peace process within the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) framework was concerned. َAccording to daily times.

“For us state-to-state relations are the most important as long as they are based on respect for our sovereignty and commitment to fight all those elements that are killing our innocent people,” Karzai said while pointing out that although QCG rests on respective roles of all four stakeholders, Pakistan’s role is the most critical in the reconciliation process.

As QCG is about to kick off with high expectations, Karzai said, it offers us an opportunity to tell the new generation that Pakistan is playing an important role in the reconciliation efforts through.

“Pakistan has the leverage and influence with Taliban leaders, which we expect it to use,” he said.

“We also expect that the leverage needs to be used against all those elements who the QCG members feel are not amenable to peace in Afghanistan,” Karzai told the delegates. His remarks came a few hours after Pakistan’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz for the first time publicly admitted that the Afghan Taliban’s leadership enjoys a safe haven inside his country.

Speaking at the Council on Foreign Affairs in Washington on March 1, he said: “We have some influence on them because their leadership is in Pakistan and they get some medical facilities, their families are here…So we can use those levers to pressurize them to say: ‘Come to the table’,” he added.

Karzai, who is Afghanistan’s chief negotiator in the peace talks that had first begun in July 2015, also declared the Taliban Doha office as the legitimate interlocutor and said the government was comfortable with all those Taliban groups that were part of the Doha office.

Karzai agreed that Pakistan’s image in Afghanistan is negative but argued it had a history and “we should all try to address the causes for this”. “Changing these perceptions is therefore going to be a difficult and complicated process, which we will need to tackle slowly and gradually,” Karzai said when asked as to whether the government was undertaking any efforts to help improve the narrative on Pakistan in the Afghan media. It will also depend on how and whether Pakistan delivers on the commitments it has made to peace and counter-terrorism in Afghanistan in the weeks and months to come, the deputy minister said.

“We need action against all non-state actors who help each other. Only then will we be able to convince our people and neutralize those opposed to the peace efforts,” Karzai said, adding it is therefore important to deal with the cause and not symptoms. “Fix the sanctuaries wherever they are,” he emphasized.

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