ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Qatar on Thursday called on the global community to not make humanitarian aid to Afghanistan conditional, nearly a month after the Taliban took over the country in a lightening sweep.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, addressing a joint press conference with Qatar Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, said Pakistan, being a neighbouring country, would help Afghanistan in every way possible.
“Both countries — Qatar and Pakistan — will work together to rebuild Afghanistan’s infrastructure […] we will not allow enemies of peace to prevail in Afghanistan,” he said.
The foreign minister said Pakistan would first work to provide food and medical aid to Afghanistan, as he highlighted that it was the need of the hour to save lives in the country.
Qureshi warned the international community to beware of elements seeking to disrupt the peace in Afghanistan. “We will not let the spoilers of peace achieve their objectives,” he said.
He called upon the international community to provide Afghanistan access to its reserves abroad which were frozen after the Taliban came into power.
“The assets of Afghanistan should be unfrozen immediately for the Afghan people,” he urged.
Talking about Pakistan’s efforts for humanitarian assistance, he said Islamabad had started sending medical and food aid via land and air routes to Afghanistan. “If the international community does not support Afghanistan financially, the situation will not improve,” he warned.
“The international community will have to help Afghanistan to avoid a possible humanitarian catastrophe,” the foreign minister said, adding that Afghanistan had internal and external threats seeking to disrupt its peace.
The foreign minister acknowledged that Qatar had played an important role in the Afghan peace process and said that both countries would strive for a stable Afghanistan.
Talking about his meeting with the Qatar foreign minister before the press conference, Qureshi said he had spoken about border and regional security matters with him.
Pakistan and Qatar consider each other as partners in Afghanistan’s development, Qureshi said.
“We also requested that Pakistanis going to Qatar be allowed to quarantine at their residence,” the foreign minister said.
Virtually addressing the six-country foreign ministers’ meeting a day earlier, Qureshi had said the international community will have to play a role to avert the looming humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.
“If a humanitarian crisis is prevented and economic stability is assured, peace can be consolidated and a mass exodus precluded,” FM Qureshi said.
He also urged the Taliban to ensure that the Afghan soil would not be used against any county.
FM Qureshi said that the change in Afghanistan is a reality, adding that the evolving situation in the war-torn county will have profound effects not only on our regions, but also on the entire world.
Talking about Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, the foreign minister said that no one could predict the rapid change in the country and all previous predictions were proved wrong.
“Urgent provision of humanitarian assistance, with UN and its various agencies playing a lead role, would reinforce the process of confidence-building,” he added.
Qatar FM lauds Pakistan’s role in peace process
Taking over the media briefing, the Qatar foreign minister said Islamabad was Doha’s strategic partner, and both countries shared brotherly ties.
“Pakistan played a leader’s role in the current situation,” he said, talking about Pakistan’s active role in the evolving situation in Afghanistan.
Al Thani praised Pakistan’s sincere efforts in facilitating the Afghan peace process.
“Today, international flights have resumed from Kabul […] and we will try to help the Afghans along with Pakistan,” Qatar’s foreign minister said, adding that Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries had the responsibility to ensure peace prevailed in Kabul.
“Pakistan has also played an important role in Qatar’s development,” he added.
He agreed that humanitarian assistance should be independent of the political process in Afghanistan.
Qatar FM meets PM Imran Khan
Earlier in the day, Al Thani met Prime Minister Imran Khan and both exchanged views on the developments in Afghanistan and diversifying Pakistan-Qatar relations.
Highlighting that Pakistan had suffered enormously due to protracted conflict in Afghanistan, the prime minister underscored the importance of a peaceful, secure and stable Afghanistan for Pakistan and the region.
On the evolving situation in Afghanistan, PM Imran Khan emphasised that it was vital to stabilise the security situation, prevent a humanitarian crisis, and stabilise the economy.
PM Imran Khan said that Pakistan has and will continue to play its role for the economic uplift, humanitarian relief, and assistance to Afghanistan.
The prime minister called upon the international community to stand in solidarity with the Afghan people, engage positively and create incentives to ensure sustainable peace, stability, and economic development in Afghanistan.
The prime minister lauded Qatar’s role in support of the Afghan peace process.
In the bilateral context, the prime minister reaffirmed Pakistan’s desire to strengthen mutually beneficial ties with Qatar.
He stressed the importance of enhanced collaboration in diverse areas, including trade and investments, energy, and enhancing people-to-people linkages.
Meanwhile, Al Thani acknowledged Pakistan’s important role as well as efforts for regional peace and stability.
He also underscored Qatar’s commitment to maintaining close contact with Pakistan on bilateral and regional matters.