The Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the Pakistani Embassy’s Counselor in Kabul a day after Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan repeated his controversial remarks on an interim setup in Afghanistan which he believes will break the so-called stalemate in the peace process.
The Foreign Ministry’s spokesman Sibghatullah Ahmadi said they once again expressed their objection on Khan’s remarks.
He said that Afghanistan decided to send its ambassador back to Islamabad after he was summoned to come to Kabul following the first-time remarks of Khan in late March.
But Ahmadi said the remarks were repeated and that “the Afghan government considers recent Imran Khan’s statement a clear interference in internal affairs of Afghanistan and deems the remarks a return to Khan’s previous stance and demands explanation by the government of Pakistan”.
Addressing a rally in Jamrud, a town in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Friday, Khan said that he had given a “brotherly advice” to Afghanistan but he was slammed for his statement, the National Courier said in a report.
“We should all pray for peace in Afghanistan so that the people over there can live once again,” he said. “I gave a brotherly advice to the Afghan government due to which they became furious. I have learned in my experience that neutrality benefits everyone,” the Pakistani Prime Minister told the Jamrud gathering, as quoted by the National Courier.
Khan’s Friday remarks supported the suggestion he made in late March in which he had said the formation of an interim government in Afghanistan can possibly resolve the problems and will support the ongoing peace process.
He also had blamed the Afghan government for being an obstacle to the peace process.
“The Afghan government was a hurdle in the peace process that was insisting that Taliban should talk to it,” Khan had said at the time.
He added that the Afghan peace process can only be successful if there is a neutral interim government, which can hold free and transparent elections to be participated by all the stakeholders.
Khan’s remarks, however, were then sharply criticized by the Afghan government. In reaction to his comments, Afghanistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned Pakistan’s deputy ambassador to Kabul and also called the Afghan envoy from Islamabad to Kabul.
The ministry in a statement called the remarks a clear interference in Afghanistan’s internal affairs.
The remarks were also criticized by Afghan politicians who labeled the statement “irresponsible”.
Even the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad reacted to the remarks and said that it is only Afghans who will define their future.
“While Pakistan has made constructive contributions on the Afghan peace process, Prime Minister Khan’s comments did not. The future of Afghanistan is for Afghans, and only Afghans, to decide. The role of the international community is to encourage Afghans to come together so they can do so,” Khalilzad said in a tweet in March.
However, Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement said Khan’s remarks were misinterpreted.
Khan said that peace in Afghanistan would be beneficial for the tribal people in Pakistan.
“If there is peace in Afghanistan, tribal people will benefit,” he said.
This time, too, some Afghan politicians reacted to the new comments by Khan.
“Repetition of the disrespectful statement on Afghan internal matters by Pakistani Prime Imran Khan is very unfortunate and deplorable,” the former National Security Advisor and presidential candidate Mohammad Haneef Atmar said in a tweet on Friday, April 5. “What we need from a neighbor is non-interference, respect for state sovereignty and genuine help with peace.”
An Afghan expert, Waheed Muzhzda, said by such remarks, Imran Khan wants to show that he has a role in the peace process.
“By such statements, Mr. Imran Khan wants to say that he still has an important role in changes and in the peace process in Afghanistan. He wants to undermine the peace process by such remarks,” he told TOLOnews.