ISLAMABAD: In his address at the inaugural session of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Council of Foreign Ministers (SCO-CFM) on Thursday, Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi warned against “spoilers” within and outside Afghanistan who do not want peace and stability to return to the war-torn nation.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization Council of Foreign Ministers will go on from September 9-10 in Moscow.
“It is imperative to be cognizant of the role of “spoilers” — within and outside — who do not want peace and stability to return to Afghanistan,” Qureshi said, speaking about intra-Afghan talks between the Afghan Taliban and the Kabul government, which are about to start to find a solution to a 19-year-long civil war. “The intra-Afghan negotiations process will not be without challenges.”
He said as a “shared responsibility,” Pakistan had assiduously supported the efforts for a peace and reconciliation process that was Afghan-led and Afghan-owned.
“We believe the Afghan stakeholders must now seize this historic opportunity and work together to secure an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement,” Qureshi said. “It is critical that the intra-Afghan negotiations commence at the earliest.”
In an indirect reference to the Kashmir conflict with neighboring India, the foreign minister said a peaceful resolution of outstanding disputes was a prerequisite for achieving development, economic growth, poverty alleviation and social uplift.
“We must strongly condemn and oppose any unilateral and illegal measures to change the status of disputed territories in violation of UN Security Council Resolutions,” he said in reference to the Indian government’s move in August last year to revoke the special status of the disputed Kashmir valley that Pakistan and India both claim in full but rule in parts.
“Such unilateral measures run counter to our shared objective of creating a regional environment of amity and cooperation and these must be opposed resolutely,” Qureshi said.
In a veiled reference to India, he said: “We must not allow any country to use terrorism related allegations as a political tool to malign and victimize any country, religion or race.”
The Pakistani FM added: “We must also condemn and hold accountable the perpetrators of State terrorism against people under illegal occupation in disputed territories.”
Qureshi also met Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov later in the day and told him that the administration in Islamabad attributed tremendous significance to its relations with Russia and wanted to strengthen them further.
The Pakistani foreign minister also briefed Lavrov on developments in Indian-administered Kashmir, saying that the administration in New Delhi was trying to change the demographics of the disputed region in violation of Security Council resolutions.