ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s National Security Adviser (NSA) Dr. Moeed Yusuf said on Tuesday his country would not participate in a conference on Afghanistan in New Delhi, saying “a spoiler cannot be a peacemaker.”
Last month, India announced to convene an NSA meeting of regional states to discuss the emerging situation in Afghanistan after the international forces pulled out of the war-battered country and the Taliban captured Kabul once again.
Indian officials invited Pakistan, China, Iran, Russia and Tajikistan for the conference planned for November 10-11, though any representation from Islamabad seemed unlikely due to its strained relations with New Delhi.
“I will not go to India to attend the conference on Afghanistan,” Yusuf told a media briefing in the federal capital after signing a Protocol on Joint Security Commission with Uzbekistan. “A spoiler cannot be a peacemaker.”
He said Pakistan was diplomatically active to address the situation in Afghanistan since it wanted enduring stability in the neighboring country.
“We don’t have an option to disengage from Afghanistan since it is not a political issue for us,” Yusuf said. “It’s a humanitarian and security issue.”
Discussing Pakistan’s diplomatic dealings with Uzbekistan, he said the three-day visit of Secretary of the Security Council of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Lt Gen Victor Makhmudov, was historic and significant since both countries had agreed to form a Joint Security Commission (JSC).
“This commission will allow the two countries to work together and address the issue of drug trafficking, ensure counterterrorism cooperation and build their capacity in these areas,” he continued. “The disaster management agencies of the two countries will also cooperate with each other.”
He added the Pakistan and Uzbekistan would work with each other through a working group.
“The national security division is the coordinator of the JSC,” he informed.
The NSA said Pakistan’s ministries of interior, narcotics control, defense, foreign affairs and law were part of Tuesday’s meeting with the Uzbek delegation which was also attended by the representatives of the National Disaster Management Authority and Federal Board of Revenue.
“We already have MoUs on military education and defense cooperation,” he added. “It was also decided to revitalize the already signed agreements between the two countries.”
Yusuf noted an Uzbekistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan corridor was crucial for Islamabad to fulfill its geo-economic potential.
He said the Uzbek secretary of the security council would also meet Prime Minister Imran Khan, Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
Focusing on Afghanistan again, Yusuf said both Pakistan and Uzbekistan believed the world should constructively engage with the Taliban to avoid an impending humanitarian crisis.
“The two countries believe if the world does not constructively engage with Afghanistan, it will lead to a huge crisis since Afghan people do not have food and lack requisite means to fulfil their basic needs,” he added.