Pakistan should use its influence over Taliban to help us, Afghan special envoy says

In this file photo, Mohammed Umer Daudzai is giving an interview to Arab News in Islamabad on Jan. 9, 2019. (AN photo)
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Updated 29 October 2020

Pakistan should use its influence over Taliban to help us, Afghan special envoy says

  • Talks between Kabul government and Taliban ongoing in Doha since mid-September, but progress has been slow 
  • PM Khan to hold “detailed discussions” on peace process with President Ghani when they meet in Kabul later this year

ISLAMABAD: The Afghan President’s Special Envoy for Pakistan, Mohammed Umer Daudzai, said on Wednesday Pakistan should use its influence over the Taliban to help break a deadlock in peace talks between the insurgent group and the Kabul government, but warned that Islamabad should push the Taliban to support democracy. 
Talks between a Kabul government delegation and the Taliban have been going on in Doha since mid-September, but progress has been slow and rising violence in Afghanistan has sapped trust.
Nearly 6,000 Afghan civilians have been killed or wounded in the first nine months of the year as heavy fighting between government forces and Taliban insurgents rages on despite efforts to find peace, the United Nations said this week.
The peace talks follow a deal in February between the United States and the Taliban that will pave the way for foreign forces to leave Afghanistan by May 2021 in exchange for counterterrorism guarantees from the Taliban, who agreed to negotiate a permanent cease-fire and a power-sharing formula with Kabul.
“We are pleased at the agreement between the Taliban and the US; it has proved that Pakistan has influence on the Taliban,” Daudzai told Arab News. “Since they have influence, so they should also help us. This is our expectation. Pakistan has not refused to help us. They have also not denied their influence [on the Taliban].”
Neighboring Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan has for years been ambiguous — it is a US ally but is also accused of supporting the Taliban as its proxy in Afghanistan, part of its wider jockeying with regional rival India. Islamabad denies this. It also insists its influence with the Taliban has waned over the years. 
“Pakistani leaders know our position as what do we want, what do we expect from them. But when and how will they do that is up to them. But we want urgent actions,” Daudzai said, adding that the Afghan government expected Pakistan to support democracy in Afghanistan.
He said Prime Minister Imran Khan would hold “detailed discussions” on the peace process with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani when they met in Kabul later this year.


Pakistan becomes founding member of Saudi Digital Cooperation Organization

Updated 51 min 19 sec ago

Pakistan becomes founding member of Saudi Digital Cooperation Organization

  • FM Qureshi praises the kingdom’s ‘farsighted initiative’ while calling for greater international collaboration in the digital domain
  • The new organization has been launched to enhance the growth of digital economy that is currently estimated to be over $11 trillion

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday became one of the founding members of an organization launched by a group of Muslim countries to enhance the growth of digital economy, said an official statement circulated by the foreign office in Islamabad on Thursday.
Envisaged by Saudi Arabia, the Digital Cooperation Organization (DCO) also includes other Middle Eastern nations like Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.
The DCO was launched at a virtual event hosted by the kingdom’s communication minister, Abdullah Al-Swaha.
It was also attended by Pakistan’s foreign minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who shared his thoughts with the forum through a video message.
Qureshi lauded the Saudi minister’s “farsighted initiative,” said the statement, and noted that the creation of the organization would cater to the growing need of international cooperation and collaboration in the digital domain.
The Pakistani minister pointed out that the global digital economy was estimated to be worth over $11 trillion and was set to expand due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“DCO would offer a platform to promote the global digital agenda in the scientific, health, educational, commercial, social, agricultural, investment and security spheres,” he said.
The foreign minister, who also chairs a dedicated digital diplomacy working group of leading IT experts in his country, added that information revolution presented a unique opportunity to deal with the development deficit in Pakistan through its skilled human resource that could also make significant contributions globally.