With Taliban delegation in town, Pakistan says it expects ‘specific settlement through dialogue’

ISLAMABAD, Oct 3 (APP):As delegation of Taliban Political Commission (TPC) made its first-ever
visit to Islamabad, Pakistan on Thursday said it expected a ‘specific settlement of the conflict through dialogue’.

“This is a very very sensitive issue and a very delicate process, which is being handled in a very careful manner,” Foreign Office Spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal said at a weekly press briefing.
The 12-member TPC delegation, led by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, met Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi at the Foreign Office this morning.

The meeting, that lasted for one and a half hour, was also attended by Director General Inter-Services Intelligence Lt Gen Faiz Hameed and Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood.

The FO spokesman said “the delegation appreciated Pakistan’s support for peace in Afghanistan”.
When asked if Pakistan would facilitate a meeting of Taliban delegation and the representatives of the United States, the spokesman said he could not comment further, owing to sensitivity of the matter.
Sharing details about the meeting, an FO statement said that Foreign Minister Qureshi stressed “all possible efforts for an early resolution of the 40-year-long conflict in Afghanistan due to which the people of two countries suffered tremendously”.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi assured the delegation that Pakistan would continue to support all efforts to achieve permanent peace in Afghanistan, which was essential for its own socio-economic development and progress.

He noted that the direct Taliban-US talks since the last year, strongly and sincerely supported by Pakistan, had now laid a firm ground for achieving a sustainable peace deal in Afghanistan.

“A pacific settlement of the conflict would lead to a significant reduction of violence, end of bloodshed and long-term peace, stability and prosperity for future generations of Afghanistan,” he said.
Appreciating Taliban’s serious engagement in peace process, he called for logical conclusion of the efforts, adding that the existing regional and international consensus for achieving peace in Afghanistan, provided “an unprecedented opportunity that must not be lost”.

“It is up to the parties to the conflict in Afghanistan to grasp this opportunity,” Qureshi said, expressing the hope that the currently paused peace process, would be restarted at an early date.
He mentioned that Pakistan wholeheartedly supported Afghanistan in its difficult times for the past four decades, in line with Islamic teachings of Islam and as moral obligation.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Pakistan throughout kept reminding the world, not to overlook the hardcore political, economic, socio-cultural and ethnic ground realities in Afghanistan and its immediate neighborhood.

He said Pakistan maintained for several years that there was no military solution to the complex situation in Afghanistan and “an inclusive peace and reconciliation process involving all sections of the Afghan society was the only, practical way forward”.

The TPC delegation lauded Pakistan’s support for peace in Afghanistan.
Both sides agreed on the need for earliest resumption of peace process and emphasized for the reduction of violence by all parties, to ensure an enabling environment for dialogue.

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