‘Pakistan respects Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace process’

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Islamabad, July 1 (IANS) Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said that his country will “respect the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process”.

Addressing a session of the National Assembly or the lower house of the country’s parliament, Khan said on Wednesday that “we do not want any kind of strategic depth in Afghanistan. We do not want any favourites or choose any party in Afghanistan. Afghans are our brothers, and what they like for themselves, we shall support it”, reports Xinhua news agency

Khan, in his policy statement, told the house that he already had meetings with the Afghan leadership, including President Ashraf Ghani, and told them that Islamabad has great interests if there is peace because “Pakistan wants betterment of Afghan economy for bilateral trade, and want to enhance trade relations with Central Asian nations via Afghanistan by new roads and railway links”.

The US abruptly announced the exit date and then asked Pakistan to bring the Taliban to talks, said Khan, adding “we have no leverage over them (Taliban) other than that we suggest them that conflict or prolonged civil war is not a solution of Afghan issues”.

Khan expressed his fear that if there is a civil war, it would bring a disaster for Afghanistan, which would also have effects on Pakistan in the aftermath.

Explaining his recent response to the US media over a question about Washington’s’ demand of an airbase in Pakistan to overlook the situation in Afghanistan, the Prime Minister said: “Pakistan would never compromise over its sovereignty and Pakistan can always be a partner with the US in peace but not in any conflict.”

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