Qureshi says hopes for peace ‘high’ after Ghani, Bajwa meeting

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Tuesday that hopes are high for sustainable peace in Afghanistan after the meeting between Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad on Tuesday, Qureshi said Bajwa held high-level meetings with the Afghan leadership in Kabul and discussed the Afghan peace process, Pakistan’s Business Recorder reported.

“Hopes are high for sustainable peace in Afghanistan after the meeting,” Qureshi said adding: “We stand by the Afghan people in the peace and stability of Afghanistan.”

Qureshi also stated that now that foreign troops are withdrawing, the responsibility to ensure security now lies with the Afghans.

“Pakistan wishes to see a prosperous Afghanistan,” he said.

He stated that dialogue is the only solution to resolve matters between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

“Peace in Afghanistan is in the interest of the Taliban and the Afghan government,” he highlighted.

Qureshi said that peace in Afghanistan will also benefit Pakistan and the entire region.

Neighbouring Pakistan is regarded as a key player in the Afghan peace process.

In the past Islamabad has been accused of harbouring the Taliban but in recent years Washington and other Western powers have acknowledged its efforts to push the militant group to take part in peace talks.

In recent weeks, Taliban and diplomatic sources told Reuters, Pakistan has been negotiating with insurgents to try to get them to commit to a ceasefire, agree to an extension of the U.S.-Taliban agreement which stipulated forces should withdraw by May, and to continue to take part in peace talks at a planned conference in Turkey.