Pak will back any Afghan-led peace process: Gilani

Pakistan has been making efforts to ensure that it is not left out of any efforts to end the decade-long war in Afghanistan.

Last Updated: Feb 05, 2012, 23:32 PM IST

Islamabad: Pakistan desires a stable
Afghanistan and will back any Afghan-led peace process, Prime
Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Sunday said, on the eve of his
visit to Qatar for talks on the reconciliation process in the
neighbouring war-torn country.

"Pakistan has only one view- we want a stable
Afghanistan. It is in the interest of Pakistan. If there is
any sort of political reconciliation in Afghanistan which is
Afghan-owned and Afghan-led, we are ready to support that
process," Gilani said durig an interaction with the media on
the sidelines of an official function.

The Premier was responding to a question on the talks he
would hold during a two-day visit to Qatar, where the Afghan
Taliban plan to open a political office.

Gilani is scheduled to travel to Doha with Foreign
Minister Hina Rabbani Khar tomorrow. Though the Afghan
reconciliation process is not on the agenda of Gilani`s visit
to Qatar, the Qatari leadership is expected to brief him on
their contacts with Taliban and the efforts by the militants
to set up a political office there, officials have said.

Pakistan has been making efforts to ensure that it is not
left out of any efforts to end the decade-long war in
Afghanistan. Khar has said Islamabad would encourage militant
groups like the Haqqani network or the Taliban to lay down
their arms if asked by Kabul.

Gilani further said that Pakistan is part of a core group
that includes Afghanistan and the US and this group too will
continue to push for reconciliation as it is in the interest
of Pakistan and the region.

"If the situation in our neighbouring countries is
normal, then the situation in Pakistan will be normal. So we
have an interest in the stability of Afghanistan," he said.

The premier dismissed allegations by the Defa-e-Pakistan
Council, a conglomerate of hardline and extremist groups, that
his government intended to reopen NATO supply routes that were
close after a cross-border NATO air strike killed 24 Pakistani
soldiers last year.

"I have seen that the Defa-e-Pakistan (Council) and some
groups are talking at their rallies about not allowing the
resumption of NATO supplies. I want to ask them did we close
the supply routes on their advice? We did it in the national
interest and we referred it to the parliamentary committee,"
he said.

The parliamentary committee’s recommendations on new
terms of engagement with the US and NATO will be the "whole
country?s recommendations" and these will be discussed and
debated at a joint session of parliament, Gilani said.

"Before that, such talk is aimed at diverting the
attention of the people," he said.

PTI