FM Qureshi says Indian media reports of his Kabul visit are a ‘pack of lies’

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Monday that it was unfortunate that the Indian media had falsely propagated that he had visited Kabul after the Taliban takeover.

“Truth of the matter is that I did not go to Kabul at all. The Indian media ought to have confirmed whether the report of my Kabul visit was true or a mere rumour before allowing it to go on air. By broadcasting a story without confirmation, the Indian media has tarnished its own image,” he commented.

Qureshi said he did not visit Kabul but had attended important meetings here in Islamabad. “Yesterday, I had a meeting with European Union’s Foreign Affairs Head Josep Borrell. Both of us discussed the unfolding situation in Afghanistan in detail. I informed him about the assistance Pakistan offered in the evacuation of foreign nationals and the ambassadorial staff of foreign countries from Kabul after the Taliban took over,” the FM said, and added that he had told Borrell that he was about to embark on a tour of key regional countries so that a joint strategy could be chalked out to deal with the challenges arising out of the recent developments in Afghanistan.

“I will visit Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Iran and Turkmenistan to hold consultations with the leaders of these countries on the current situation in the strife-torn country,” Qureshi informed.

The FM said that Afghanistan was a multi-ethnic country where besides Pashtuns, Tajiks, Uzbeks, Hazara and people belonging to other ethnic and linguistic groups also lived. “Therefore, Pakistan is in the favour of the formation of that government in the country which has the support of all these groups,” he added.

He cautioned that contrary to Pakistan and some other regional countries, there were ‘spoilers’ in Afghanistan who did not want peace in the country.

Qureshi asked India to give up what he called its ‘limited thinking’. “If India keeps destabilizing Pakistan, it will do no good to the region,” he remarked.

The FM made it clear that Pakistan did not have an objection to friendly ties between India and Afghanistan as had always been claimed by the former. “We are not focused on a single group in Afghanistan. In fact, we are focusing on the betterment of the entire country,” he said, and added, “Pakistan wants to create a conducive environment in its neighbouring country so that people of that country could prosper and progress.”

He called upon the international community not to sever ties with Afghanistan even after the Taliban takeover. “People of strife-torn country should get the feeling that they have not been forgotten or left at the mercy of circumstances,” he asserted.

He also urged the Taliban not to create obstacles in the way of people wanting to go abroad. “Please avoid pandemonium in the country,” he implored.

Highlighting the importance of literate and educated people for the landlocked country, Qureshi expressed the fear that there would be a brain drain if all competent and talented people left the country.