During a press conference with CEO Abdullah Abdullah, Turkish Prime Minister Binali said Turkey has suggested a trilateral meeting of officials from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey to discuss the peace process in Afghanistan. Afghan Executive Office has expressed optimism over the trilateral meeting and hopes the summit will reduce tensions between Kabul-Islamabad. During the visit to Kabul, the Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has said that Turkey strongly supports the Afghan government’s efforts for peace in the country, and called on the Taliban to start dialogue with the Afghan government. Bashir Ahmad Tayenj, a Member of Parliament believes that Turkey can play a key role in Afghan peace process because is a powerful Islamic country with an effective role in regional politics. Furthermore, analysts stress on Turkey’s pressures over Pakistan to stop interfering in Afghanistan’s affairs and fight against terrorism. Turkey’s call for peace in Afghanistan comes as the Taliban still maintained its silence and has yet to formally respond to the peace offer.
The 20th Meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) was held in Islamabad on Wednesday with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in the chair. Pakistan’s top civilian and military leaders strongly condemned India’s “recent reign of terror” in occupied Kashmir which has martyred 20 innocent civilians and left hundreds wounded. According to a press release, the committee condemned the current situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir, observing that the inhumane and incessant use of pellet guns against innocent protestors and on funeral processions has blinded scores of Kashmiris and inflicted injuries. “The National Security Committee praised the extraordinary courage and resilience of Kashmiri people in the face of Indian brutalities, gross and systematic violations of all their human rights. The Committee observed that the purely indigenous character of this uprising has once again belied the false propaganda by the Indian government,” said the press release. The NSC reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to political, diplomatic and moral support for the people of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir in their just and legitimate struggle for their right to self-determination, also promised to them by the unanimous resolutions of the UN Security Council. The National Security Committee decided to raise the issue of unprecedented Indian brutalities at both bilateral and multilateral fora. The committee reviewed the broader regional situation and expressed satisfaction over the role that Pakistan continues to play for peace and stability.
An high-level Pakistani delegation arrived in Afghanistan on Monday to hold talks on the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS), weeks after the Afghan president offered Taliban to join the political process. The Pakistani delegation is headed by Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua and comprises senior civil and military bigshots, including Director General Military Operations Maj Gen Shamshad Mirza. The tour precedes Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s visit scheduled for April 6, and succeeds visit of National Security Advisor Nasser Janjua who toured the Afghan capital on March 17-18.Janjua called on Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Dr Abdullah Abdullah in separate meetings during his trip to Kabul.
It was during the same trip that Ghani invited Pakistan’s prime minister to “initiate state to state comprehensive dialogue”. Revealing the details of the tour, Dr Faisal had informed that Pakistan had proposed five joint working groups, focusing on ensuring a comprehensive engagement for countering terrorism, intelligence sharing, military, economy, trade and transit interaction, refugee repatriation and connectivity.The FO spokesperson had also reaffirmed that Pakistan will continue to support efforts for peace in Afghanistan, but the Afghan government needed to reach a settlement with different Afghan groups.
Condemning the killing of 13 terrorists by security forces in Kashmir, Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Monday accused India of launching a “brutal crackdown” in Kashmir. “The brutal crackdown, including the despicable use of pellet guns on civilians who were protesting against the killing is deplorable,” Abbasi said. Security forces on Sunday gunned down 13 terrorists, including those responsible for the brutal killing of Lieutenant Umar Fayaz, in three counter-insurgency operations that also claimed the lives of three Army jawans and four civilians in Anantnag and Shopian districts.
The operations, which dealt a severe blow to terror groups in Kashmir Valley, were launched in the two districts Saturday night and continued till late Sunday. Reacting to the counter-insurgency operations by Indian forces, Pakistan’s Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa in a brief statement said that Indian security forces cannot suppress the “indigenous” struggle of Kashmiris for self-determination. The operations by the Indian security forces have rendered a severe blow to terror groups such as the Hizbul Mujahideen and the Lashker-e-Taiba.
The US Department of Commerce (DoC) has put seven Pakistani companies on a list of foreign entities for their alleged involvement in the nuclear trade. The Pakistani firms are among the 23 companies added to the Entity List of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) which is prepared by Bureau of Industry and Security. The list says the sanctioned companies are “reasonably believed to be involved or to pose a significant risk of being or becoming involved, in activities contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States” A Singaporean company, which is affiliated to a Pakistani company, and 15 entities from South Sudan are among the additions, which were published in the Federal Register on Thursday. With this step, the companies are now subject to stringent export control measures, which could bar them from taking part in international trade. Three of the Pakistani firms have been sanctioned for “their involvement in the proliferation of unsafeguarded nuclear activities that are contrary to the national security and/or foreign policy interests of the United States”. These step would undermine Pakistan’s desire to become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), a group of countries that can trade fissile materials and nuclear technologies. One of the main objectives of the NSG was to bar other countries form carrying out nuclear tests. Pakistan applied for the NSG membership on May 19, 2016, after India stepped up efforts to get the position with the support of the United States and other western countries. Pakistan, who has the support of China, Turkey and other countries, says NSG should take non-discriminatory decisions to induct new members.
According to the Patriotic Movement of Afghanistan, terrorist attack on peaceful Kabul Sit-in has been carried out by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Senior leadership of the movement, slammed Pakistan for conducting terrorist and destructive activities in Afghanistan and systemic genocide of ethnic Pashtun, Baloch and Hazara populations in Pakistan. A central leader of the movement, Israr Karimzai, said Afghans were at Kabul-Sit-In to mobilize the general masses in support of Afghan-led peace process. He said Pakistan’s notorious intelligence Agency ISI carried out a heinous act of terrorism against the peaceful and impartial Sit-in. He demanded the international community to recognize and enlist Pakistan as a terror sponsor state and impose economic and diplomatic sanctions on it. Abasin Barial, another central leader of the movement called on Taliban to embrace the comprehensive and precondition talks offer extended by the National Unity Government and put an end to war in the country.
Aimal another member of the movement, demanded the government to launch probe into the incident and further unmask Pakistan for its terrorist involvement in the country. Dr. Naeem Afzali from the Hazara community said Afghans on both sides of the Durand Line could not be separated by the imaginary lines. He said Afghans stand behind the Pashtun Long March and its leadership and endorse their legitimate demands of right to life and freedom. The press conference was attended by more than five hundred activists and politicians, including Zakia Wardak, chairperson of the Afghan Samon Society.
During the “Progress on Peace and Stability in Afghanistan” at the US Institute of Peace, Afghan National Security Adviser Mohammad Hanif Atmar says the response from the Pakistan to terrorism has been mixed. He said that the consensus on how to fight the terrorists has broken slightly. Atmar added that there are nations in the region that draw a distinction between good and bad terrorists. Furthermore, the region actors all agreed to have state-to-state relations for counter terrorism, but there are some stat who look at state to non-state actors relations for counter-terrorism, like some that say they work with the Taliban against Daesh or against the ISIS. According to Atmar, this is unethical and self-defeating in terms of policy. Atmar said Afghanistan faces threat from a nexus of violent extremism, transnational criminalized networks and state sponsorship of terrorists, but it’s not just the Taliban and the Haqqani network that they are fighting. There is an increase of foreign fighters associated with at least three categories of terrorist networks. The global terrorist networks such as Al Qaeda, Daehs and ISIS-K. The regional terrorists such as IMU from Central Asia and China, and Pakistani terrorists such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and Jaish-e-Mohammed.
The US has not seen a “decisive and sustained” change in the behaviour of Pakistan, even after the Trump Administration announced a $2 billion security assistance freeze to Islamabad nearly two months ago, a senior American official said on Tuesday. “We’ve not seen decisive and sustained changes yet in Pakistan’s behaviour, but certainly we are continuing to engage with Pakistan over areas where we think they can play a helpful role in changing the calculus of the Taliban,” said Alice Wells, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Alice South and Central Asia. Briefing reporters on the just concluded Kabul conference in Afghanistan, Wells said Pakistan has a very important role to play in the Afghan peace process. “We believe that Pakistan can certainly help to facilitate talks and to take actions that will put pressure on and encourage the Taliban to move forward towards a politically negotiated settlement,” Wells said in response to a question. “And our engagement with Pakistan is on how we can work together, on how we can address Pakistan’s legitimate concerns and Afghanistan’s stability through a negotiated process as well,” she said.
Over 12,000 Afghan nationals are imprisoned in different jails in Pakistan and Iran. The Minister of Refugee and Repatriation said that over 7,000 Afghan nationals are currently suffering in Pakistani jails while 5,124 more in Iranian prisons. However, recently more than 600 Afghan prisoners have been transferred to Afghanistan from Iran. Afghanistan has signed an agreement with Iran to transfer prisoners. At the same time some politicians believe that the government should establish a special court to look after cases of Afghan prisoners after transformation. “A special court should be formed so it could assess cases of the prisoners and then take a decision”, Abdulhadi Arghandiwal, head of a Hezb-e-Islami political party said. But so far, no agreement signed with Pakistan to facilitate exchange of Afghans prisoners.
Indian and Afghan signed agreements for the implementation of 108 community development projects in Afghanistan and the projects valued at $31.33 million will be executed in 31 provinces. Manpreet Vohra, Indian Ambassador to Kabul said that these projects will improve the life of those people who are living in the remote areas of the country. Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah added that he praised India’s economic and political support for Afghanistan and called on those countries involved in destabilizing Afghanistan to support the war-torn country, referring to Pakistan.