ISLAMABAD: Minister for State and Frontier Regions Abdul Qadir Baloch on Tuesday said Pakistan desires cordial relations with Afghanistan but any such relations must be bilateral and not in pursuit of Indian priorities.
“Pakistan fully recognizes that peace in region cannot be achieved without constructive bilateral ties. But, if Afghanistan would follow Indian priorities for relations with Pakistan, it will not be acceptable,” he said winding up discussion on foreign policy of the government.
The minister said Pakistan hosted millions of Afghan refugees over the decades.
“We have historical, geographical and ethnic association with Afghanistan and even today Pakistan is ready to facilitate Afghanistan in trade, health and other facilities. But, this cannot be done on other’s priorities. Such relations shall be based on bilateral priorities.”
The minister rejected the notion of failure of foreign policy as he stated that Pakistan’s foreign policy does not revolve around India and Afghanistan alone as there are other countries and continents.
“We have cordial relations with Asian nations including Arab countries as well as with African and European countries and United States and China,” he added.
The minister said, if we peep through the past, our relations with Afghanistan had never been exemplary except a specific period of USSR invasion. Most of the time, they had been Indian friends and had also opposed Pakistan’s membership of the United Nations. Afghanistan had sided with India in both Pak-India wars.
“But, we always tried to take Afghanistan along and facilitated with trade and hosted their millions of citizens for more than three decades. Over three millions refugees are still living in Pakistan,” he added.
The minister said, soon after coming into power, the PML-N leadership repeatedly tried to address concerns of Afghanistan. But, every time were replied with terrorist attacks from across the border. “Then how come that we continue receiving dead bodies of our civilians and military personnel and keep beseeching for cordial relations. This is unacceptable.”
He claimed that Indian and Afghan agencies had links with Jamatul Ahrar, the organization that had claimed responsibility for killing our people as well as having their bases in Afghanistan.
The minister said an appropriate action was also a demand of the provincial government that led the federal government to close down border with Afghanistan. “We cannot go for direct action within Afghan territory. But, we cam take preventive measures like closing the border to stop illegal traffic.”
Qadir Baloch said even the legal refugees residing in Pakistan have no complaint with us and we also on our part desire better relations with Afghanistan. “But, our strength and not our weakness, would guarantee better relations. The members should not expect from the government any apologies for Afghanistan. We are ready for better relations but on the basis on mutual interests and not on others priorities.”
He said the foreign ministry was functioning appropriately under the guidance of Sartaj Aziz and it is prerogative of the government either to have a Foreign Minister or an Advisor.
He invited the members to send their proposals to the government through the house or the parliamentary leaders, the government would honor their proposals and bring positive changes to foreign policy.