Pakistan stresses diplomatic surge to settle Afghan conflict: Maleeha Lodhi

Pakistan stresses diplomatic surge to settle Afghan conflict: Maleeha Lodhi

United Nations (Agencies): Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Dr Maleeha Lodhi said on Thursday that Pakistan has stressed a diplomatic surge in the peace process in war-torn Afghanistan.

Speaking in the UN General Assembly, Lodhi highlighted international consensus around the notion that a negotiated settlement was the only way forward to pursue a settlement as a positive step forward.

Lodhi said that the decision by the United States to engage in direct talks with the Taliban was another positive development and Pakistan will support those talks.

“For close to two decades, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has repeatedly declared that the war in Afghanistan can be brought to an end only through a negotiated political settlement,” the Pakistani envoy told the 193-member Assembly during a debate on the situation in Afghanistan.

The ambassador stated that We [Pakistan] are gratified that this is now the universal position mentioning that violence in Afghanistan had escalated sharply.

Referring to the efforts being made by Russia, China and other regional states, the envoy said sustainable peace requires the endorsement of all regional partners to promote engagement and dialogue with and among the Afghan parties.

“It is but obvious that the people of Afghanistan desperately desire peace and an end to this long war,” the Pakistani envoy said and added that the challenge that lies ahead is translating this sentiment and recent developments into a serious and sustained peace process.

Earlier, welcoming the US bid to engage in talks with the Afghan Taliban, PM Imran emphasised that Islamabad did not want the US to leave Afghanistan in a hurry as they did in 1989. “The last thing we want is to have chaos in Afghanistan. There should be a settlement this time. In 1989, what happened was the Taliban emerged out of the chaos.”

“For instance, our relationship with China is not one-dimensional. It’s a trade relationship between two countries. We want a similar relationship with the US,” the PM elaborated.