Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhary Fawad Hussain has said that if elections in Afghanistan had been delayed and an inclusive government placed, as suggested by Prime Minister Imran Khan earlier, “things might be different today”.
Premier Imran in a meeting with former president Ashraf Ghani did talk about an inclusive government in Afghanistan even before the takeover of Kabul by the Taliban, the minister said in an interview with the BBC.
Fawad reiterated that Pakistan firmly believed that stability in Afghanistan could only come by taking all the ethnic groups on board as it was a “hugely ethnically divided country”.
“We are in touch with the regional powers and US and UK,” he said.
“If the elections had been delayed as Premier Imran Khan [had] suggested earlier and an inclusive government placed, things might be different today.”
The minister noted that Pakistan had lost 80,000 people and billions of dollars in economy because of the Afghan war.
He observed that the reason Pakistan was blamed for others fault was that the powers which should have paid heed to the country’s advice on Afghan issue had overlooked it.
“As far as the future of Afghanistan is concerned, we have to work together with the regional and international players for an inclusive government,” he said.
“We don’t have an influence over Taliban but we brought them on the table of talks with the US,” he added.
“We are capable of taking on TTP, we had a problem with the previous Afghan government as at that time India was using Afghan soil for funding [the] TTP.”
The minister said Pakistan welcomed Taliban’s statement to not use their land against any country and added that they had showed the world that Afghanistan would not become a heaven of international terrorist organisations.
He said hundreds of Afghans would migrate to Pakistan if instability in the neighbouring country continued.
“That is one of the reasons we are trying our best to avert any instability in Afghanistan.”
Separately, the minister said that a stable, peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan was vital for building communication linkages between Pakistan and Central Asia.
During a meeting with Uzbekistan Ambassador Aybek Arif Usmanov who called on him here on Monday, Fawad said enhanced cooperation between the two countries in areas mutually beneficial to each other would also open new avenues of opportunities and prosperity in the entire region.
He said the dream of building a railway track between Karachi and Tashkent and commencement of truck service from Pakistan to Central Asia could only be materialised with peace and stability in Afghanistan.
He maintained that Pakistan enjoyed cordial bilateral ties with the brotherly country and would like to foster close coordination with Tashkent on all regional issues particularly on Afghanistan.
He observed that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent visit to Tashkent provided a new impetus to the bilateral relations as both sides vowed to reinforce multifaceted bilateral cooperation in all areas of mutual interest.
The minister noted that Pakistan was desirous of an all-inclusive government representing all factions of society in Afghanistan.
He said Pakistan and Uzbekistan had agreed to produce movies on the lives of Mughal emperor Zahiruddin Babar and legendary Urdu poet Asadullah Khan Ghalib and that the proposal in this regard had come up during the visit of the premier to Uzbekistan.
The Uzbek ambassador commended Pakistan’s role in evacuating stranded people from Afghanistan and expressed the hope that an inclusive government in Kabul would be formed having representation of all ethnic groups.
He also underlined the need for promoting all types of tourism between the two countries besides proposing PTV to telecast documentaries on historical Uzbek sites of Samarkand, Bukhara and Sufism traditions.
The meeting was attended by the senior officials of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.