Firdous refutes reports of Taliban delegation’s meeting with PM Imran

Firdous refutes reports of Taliban delegation’s meeting with PM Imran

Islamabad (Web Desk): Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan on Friday dismissed reports of a meeting between Prime Minister Imran Khan and the visiting delegation of the Afghan Taliban.

In a post on Twitter, she said the talks of a delegation of Taliban Political Commission with the Foreign Minister in Islamabad on Thursday is a positive sign for Afghan reconciliatory process.

“This process is evident of the fact that Pakistan has always played an important role to create a favorable environment for regional and global peace,’’ Awan added.

The special assistant said an Afghan Taliban delegation's meeting with the Foreign Minister was part of this process, and it will hopefully yield positive results.

However, she said, the Taliban delegation did not meet the prime minister, and the reports published and broadcast in this regard are baseless.

On Thursday, Pakistan and the Afghan Taliban agreed to resume stalled Afghan peace talks at the earliest. The understanding came at a meeting between the two sides at the Foreign Office in Islamabad.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi led the Pakistani delegation while the Afghan side by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.

The delegates discussed the regional situation, the Afghan peace process and other issues of mutual interest.

In his remarks, Shah Mahmood Qureshi emphatically stated that Pakistan will continue to sincerely play the role of facilitator to make the Afghan peace process successful.

The Afghan Taliban delegation hailed Pakistan's facilitator role in the peace process.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi stressed that revival of the peace process is important to pave the way towards durable peace and stability in Afghanistan.

“War is no solution to any problem. Dialogue is the only way forward for peace in Afghanistan,” the FM said.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Pakistan has sincerely played the role of facilitator in the Afghan peace process. He said a peaceful Afghanistan is imperative for regional peace and stability.

The foreign minister said instability in Afghanistan is adversely affecting both Pakistan and Afghanistan. He said the world is now also endorsing Pakistan's stance on Afghanistan.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi pointed out that Pakistan-Afghanistan relations are rooted in common history, faith and culture. He said Pakistan has been hosting the Afghan refugees over the last four decades.

Earlier, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and senior officials welcomed the twelve member Afghan Taliban delegation as it arrived at the Foreign Office.

On Wednesday, a Foreign Office statement said that a delegation of Afghan Taliban arrived in Islamabad.

The delegation is likely to meet United States Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad.

Afghan Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen said on Twitter that the delegation had been given a formal invitation for the visit and that they would discuss “important issues” with Pakistani officials in Islamabad.

The Taliban also planned to follow up on Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent comments ahead of a meeting in New York with Trump, that he would try to convince the US president to re-enter talks, the Taliban official said.