Ex-Pak defence minister calls for special envoy for Afghanistan

Islamabad: Former Defence Minister of Pakistan Asif Yasin Malik has suggested that a ‘high-powered special envoy’, working directly under the country’s prime minister to hold talks with Afghanistan to remove “misconceptions and frictions”, thereby ensuring friendly relations between the two countries.

“However, it should also be ensured that Pakistani soil would not be used against Afghanistan for any illegal activities. Both countries should make joint strategies to address the issues. They should understand that the United States never cared about the local people while it was in Vietnam, Iraq or Libya. How will it care about the people of Afghanistan?” Malik said while speaking at an international conference on ‘Afghanistan Crisis: What Lies Ahead?’ here on Monday.

The Pakistani leader claimed that the US had been putting all the blame on the Haqqani network and alleging that it was operating in Pakistan.

The Dawn quoted him as saying, “The fact is that almost 60 percent area of Afghanistan is beyond the control of the Afghan government. On the other hand, Afghanistan does not have a foreign policy and currently all the decisions are being taken under the influence of the US and India. Corruption has been continuously increasing in the public sector and the country is leading to civil war. Dialogue should be started among all ethnic entities.”

Malik added that Pakistan was facing problems because of “poor priorities in its foreign policy”. Also, he stated that various developmental projects such as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) had been stalled and delayed because of ‘hindrances’.

“The US should stop interfering in Afghanistan and the decision to involve India is also creating problems. During the past one decade, the US has spent USD 1 trillion in Afghanistan. Had it invested one-fourth of it on development, there would have been no problem in that country,” he asserted.

Malik also suggested that the border control should be strengthened in Pakistan and Afghanistan and that both countries should take extra steps for ensuring good bilateral trade relations respectively.

This comes after Pakistan National Security Advisor Nasser Khan Janjua visited Kabul on a day-long visit on Saturday, in what was seen as an effort by Kabul to normalise its icy relations with Islamabad.

Relations between the two countries have remained frosty due to the terrorist activities of the Taliban and Haqqani Network carried out in Pakistan. Afghanistan contests that the two groups are supported by Pakistan and it does very little to stop them.

Meanwhile, Pakistan has urged Afghanistan to stop the blame game and asked for its co-operation in combating terrorism. (ANI)