Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Ministry has said in a statement that Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan’s comments on Afghanistan have been reported out of context in the media, leading to ‘unwarranted reaction’ from various quarters.
“In his comments, the PM had referred to Pakistan’s model where elections are held under an interim government. The comments should not be misinterpreted to imply interference in Afghanistan’s internal affairs,” Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement.
The statement clarified that Pakistan has no other interest in Afghanistan but to promote peace through an ‘Afghan owned’ and ‘Afghan led’ peace process.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday proposed that an interim government be established in Afghanistan as a possible solution to the deadlock in peace process, according to Pakistani media. Khan blamed the Afghan government for the stalemate in talks.
The suggestion came during Khan’s interaction with journalists at his office here on Monday.
“The Afghan government was a hurdle in peace process that was insisting that Taliban should talk to it,” said PM Khan.
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The Afghan peace process can only be successful if there is a neutral interim government, which can hold free and transparent elections to be participated by all the stakeholders, Khan said.
This comes after the Afghan government had objected to a meeting between Taliban representatives and Khan and has been insisting on a proper participation in the peace process. Many are of the view that Afghan government has been unfairly excluded from the talks of peace process.
There were many reactions to Khan’s comments.
US Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad responded to the proposal on interim setup by saying that such comments make no reasonable contributions to the Afghan peace process and that the future of Afghanistan is in the hands of its own people only.
“While Pakistan has made constructive contributions on the Afghan peace process, PM Khan’s comments did not”, Khalilzad wrote on Twitter.
Khalilzad also said “the future of Afghanistan is for Afghans, and only Afghans to decide. The role of international community is to encourage Afghans to come together so they can do so”.
Former Afghan president Hamid Karzai also criticised Khan’s remarks.
On Wednesday, the Afghan Ambassador to Islamabad also announced that he is coming back to Kabul as he has been called back by the government for consultation, in protest to the remarks of Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan regarding an interim setup in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan summoned Pakistan’s deputy ambassador as well to discuss the “irresponsible” remarks by Prime Minister Khan, said Afghan foreign affairs ministry spokesman Sibghatullah Ahmadi in a series of tweets on Tuesday.
A statement issued by the Afghan embassy confirmed the development.
The Afghan government deemed Khan’s statements as “an obvious example of Pakistan’s interventional policy and disrespect to the national sovereignty and determination of the people of Afghanistan,” Ahmadi said