Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Friday that the recent bill moved in the US Senate seeking to ‘investigate’ Pakistan’s role in the present Afghanistan situation was “an attempt to pass on the buck”. He stressed that Pakistan had sufficient reasons to defend the course.
“Pakistan will protect its interests and defend its position. The US has to understand the role played by Pakistan in facilitating the peace process,” Qureshi said at a joint presser with the visiting foreign minister of Denmark, Jeppe Kofod.
He was responding to a question over the recent bill presented in the US Senate that sought to assess Pakistan’s role before and after the fall of Kabul to the Afghan Taliban.
The foreign minister said that, “Scape-goating Pakistan would in fact mean overlooking the ground realities”.
Qureshi said Pakistan would not ignore the implications of the proposed bill on Pakistan, adding that “we are cognizant and can explain”.
He pointed out that the bill did not have a bipartisan understanding over it and was presented by a group of Republican senators, who were even critical of some US policies and were also against the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“Let us not be excessively obsessed with the bill. There are lobbies in the US and our neighbours in the region who would like to play it up,” he said.
During the presser, FM Qureshi said that the ties between Pakistan and Denmark were on an “upward trajectory”. He said the Denmark government had agreed to help Pakistan in the renewable energy sector by adding Islamabad to its ‘Energy Transition Initiative’.
He added that Pakistan has also informed the Danish envoy about the efforts taken to curb money laundering and terror financing and asked for its help to get off the grey list. He also thanked the Danish envoy for support in the extension of the GSP-Plus status.
‘Will not recognise Taliban’
At the presser, Denmark Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod reiterated that his country was not going to recognise the Taliban government as the European country was worried about Afghanistan becoming a “safe haven” for international terrorist groups.
However, he added that Denmark will not “turn its back” on the people of Afghanistan, and will make efforts to ensure the fundamental rights of 38 million Afghans were protected. The Danish envoy said that Denmark was “deeply worried” about the situation in Afghanistan.
“Also, the basic rights of Afghan people; the 38 million people who lived through decades of war… helping them is paramount,” he said, adding that the government of Denmark has donated $80m in 2021 to provide humanitarian relief to Afghans. “We will continue to engage” for the sake of the people, he added.
He said the Taliban government will not be judged on their words, but on “whether they respect peoples’ rights or not”.
The Danish foreign minister added that the Taliban will also need to ensure that their country is not used as a launchpad for global terror attacks. The Taliban will have to comply with international obligations in order to become part of the global community, Kofod reiterated.
He further said that Denmark was “deeply worried that Afghanistan would become a safe haven for terrorist groups”.
“People of Pakistan know the horrors of terrorism better than everyone else,” he said, adding that thousands of Pakistanis died as a result of terrorism. Kofod said he discussed with FM Qureshi how to deal with the Taliban regime to make it more inclusive and acceptable to fundamental human rights, particularly education for women and treatment towards minorities.
For the sake of regional stability, he said it was important to work together and find a way forward, adding that Denmark will not turn its back on the situation in Afghanistan.
He also thanked the Pakistani government for providing assistance during the evacuation of Danish nationals and helpers from Kabul last month.
With input from APP