Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar has ruled out a perception that the interim Taliban government in Afghanistan was not listening to Pakistan.
“I don’t think that there is a perception that the Taliban was not listening to Pakistan, neither there is any such thing Pakistan has some special demand related to the Taliban,” he said in an interview with the Voice of America Urdu (VOA Urdu) which was aired on Saturday.
He was responding to a query that the Afghan Taliban were not listening to Pakistan while the South Asian country was urging the world to engage with the interim rulers of Afghanistan.
Pakistan, along with the United States, has time after time urged the Afghan Taliban to not allow its land to be used for terrorism against any country. But the Taliban have asked the country to share evidence before putting the blame.
“We have a challenge at the western border related to terrorism. When Doha negotiations were under way, even then, regional countries – including Pakistan, China, Central Asia, and Russia – and International Security Assistance Force and North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces, which were leaving the region, had detailed talks on one point that Afghan soil is not used against any country related to terrorism,” Kakar replied.
He went on to add that the Afghan Taliban had shown commitments during Doha negotiations and they were also convinced for stable talks with neighbours in the region. “Now why it is not happening, there are different reasons and there can be different reasons.”
Pakistan was focused on different aspects and timely it was playing its role, he said and added that the country was engaged with the right forums for a desired role from the other side.
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He was asked about any surgical strike or drone strike that was on the cards after Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir’s hint of an attack against outlawed TTP in Afghanistan.
The caretaker prime minister said that Pakistan has the right to defend itself. “We will take those decisions which we think are important for the protection of our people and soil.”
He did not go on those specifics that what operations decisions were there on which Pakistan could take decisions. “When needed, we will take decisions against those threats. Hopefully, it will be shown what we want to do or what we can do.”
He ruled out a perception that the US left weapons in Afghanistan under a conspiracy.
“Neither we have said that such thing in the start nor was the purpose of saying that we were putting blame on any country or the US,” said Kakar.
Is Pakistan getting diplomatically isolated?
Kakar was not of the view that Pakistan was getting isolated after regional countries were getting nearer to India.
He went on to add that the global arrangements were linked to convergence of interest and conflict of interest. A similar kind of situation was related to the Gulf Cooperation Council, which has a big hydrocarbon export, he said and wondered whether they would compromise their export to the 1.5 billion export market in China and would join a new bloc.
“I think it was not nearer to reality,” said the interim PM.
He reiterated that Pakistan’s relations in the region had its own requirements based on which ties would be made. He added that the country has relations with the Western hemisphere for the past seven decades.
Kakar said that such relations would continue.
‘Timely elections will be held’
When asked, Kakar said that there was not any possibility that elections would be delayed due to an ‘alarming situation’ at the western and eastern borders.
“I don’t see such a possibility, despite that there are alarming situations at the western and eastern borders where our security threat and its response mechanism is increasing. But we are sure that we will control the situation and complete the electoral process at the same time,” he said.
About another query, he said that the interim government would not have any objection to the Supreme Court’s order pertaining to the elections within 90 days after the dissolution of the assembly if there was any.
The ECP has the mandate to announce the election date, he said, and added that the government would support the country’s top electoral authority.