PM Khan’s comments on Kabul reported “out of context”: FO

In this file photo Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan (C) arrives to attend the Pakistan Day parade in Islamabad on March 23, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 27 March 2019

PM Khan’s comments on Kabul reported “out of context”: FO

  • Comments should not be misinterpreted to imply interference in Afghanistan’s internal affairs, says Pakistan
  • Kabul recalled ambassador from Islamabad, terming Khan’s comments as “irresponsible"

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s foreign office on Wednesday moved to cool a row between Pakistan and Afghanistan, saying reported comments by Prime Minister Imran Khan that Kabul should set up an interim government to help smooth peace talks with the Taliban were reported “out of context.”

Khan told Pakistani journalists on Monday that forming an interim Afghan government would smooth peace talks between US and Taliban officials since the militant group refuses to speak to the current government, according to comments published in The Express Tribune.

The report sparked a furious reaction in Afghanistan and led to the government recalling its ambassador to Islamabad in protest at what it described as “irresponsible” remarks by Khan.

The foreign office said that Khan’s comments reported were “out of context by the media, leading to unwarranted reactions from various quarters.”

“In his comments, the PM had referred to Pakistan’s model where elections are held under an interim government. The comments should not be misinterpreted to imply interference in Afghanistan’s internal affairs,” the foreign office statement said. “Pakistan has no other interest in Afghanistan but to promote peace through an ‘Afghan owned’ and ‘Afghan led’ political process.”

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani faces a re-election battle this year after his term expires in May. The election has already been postponed twice but they are now due to take place on Sept. 28.

In Pakistan, elections are overseen by a neutral caretaker government appointed a few months before polls.

The foreign office statement said Khan had taken a personal interest in facilitating ongoing peace talks between U.S. and Taliban officials to end the 17-year war. The Taliban considers the Afghan government led by President Ghani illegitimate and has so far refused direct talks.

The statement said Pakistan’s efforts for peace is Afghanistan must not be misconstrued at a crucial stage of the peace process.


WHO lauds Pakistani frontline workers as 'real heroes' in polio fight

Updated 24 October 2020

WHO lauds Pakistani frontline workers as 'real heroes' in polio fight

  • 270,000 frontline workers participated in the nationwide anti-polio vaccination campaign last month
  • Pakistan and Afghanistan remain the only countries where polio can be found, after Africa was declared polio-free in late August

ISLAMABAD: The World Health Organization (WHO) marked World Polio Day on Saturday by recognizing the hard work of thousands of Pakistani polio workers, as a nationwide immunization drive resumed after a months-long coronavirus hiatus.
According to Pakistan Polio Eradication Program data, 270,000 frontline workers participated in the door-to-door vaccination campaign last month after the government suspended nationwide polio efforts between April and July to focus on COVID-19 response.
"They are our real heroes in this effort, and with the provided support, they have made us proud by vaccinating millions of children during each campaign," WHO Pakistan representative Dr. Palitha Mahipala said, as quoted by local media.
He added that the WHO and its government and non-government partners are "working hard to ensure that Pakistan can be the next country on the journey to a polio-free world."
Polio is a highly infectious disease, which mainly affects children under the age of five and can cause paralysis or death. While there is no cure for polio, vaccination is the most effective means of protection against it.
The next polio eradication campaign will be starting on Monday, in 128 districts of the country, aiming to give polio drops to 31 million children.
Pakistan and Afghanistan remain the only countries where polio can be found, after Africa was declared polio-free in late August. Pakistan has registered 79 polio cases since the start of the year.