Foreign minister says Pakistan will not take responsibility if blamed for worsening Afghan peace process

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Pakistani Foreign Ministry Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Monday said that Pakistani will not take responsibility for deteriorating the Afghan peace process. He said that Pakistan is “honest and sincere” in building a long-lasting peace in neighbouring Afghanistan.

Addressing the inaugural session of the Pak-Afghan Bilateral Dialogue in Islamabad, Qureshi said that the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and a group of close associates will be travelling to Washington soon, ostensibly to further the peace process in Afghanistan. The foreign minister cautioned that the “blame game” and holding Pakistan responsible for worsening the Afghan peace process “will not help.”

“I wish them luck and a good visit but let me spell it down in advance. If the objective of going to Washington is starting a new blame game and holding Pakistan responsible for all the ills [in Afghanistan] and the lack of [progress in the peace] process, then it will not help.

“It is a shared responsibility and nobody is going to buy it anymore that if things go wrong [then] Pakistan is responsible. We will not take responsibility,” said the foreign minister. “We’ve been accused enough.”

Qureshi said that the Afghans will have to decide the way forward for their country. He said that Afghanistan needs a leadership that is not worried about clinging to power and that can negotiate a successful outcome and transit the country into peace

He said that Pakistan wanted to “partner” with Afghanistan and the United States to counter terrorism in the region. He said that Pakistan has suffered and paid a price for this partnership with lost lives, loss of economy and mosques bombed.

He said that Pakistan has taken a very clear decision not to “interfere” in the internal affairs of Afghanistan, referring to the allegations that Pakistan endorses a Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

“We have no favourites, There is a general buzz that we are advocates of the Taliban. I am not and I don’t represent them, I represent Pakistan. Taliban are Afghans”, he said.

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