ISLAMABAD - Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Chairman Senate Defense Committee, has said that Afghanistan under the Afghan Taliban was interested to have friendly relations with China.
Addressing a seminar under the title 'China, Pakistan and Afghanistan: Regional Dynamic, Future Prospects', organised by the the Regional Peace Institute (RPI) Islamabad on Sunday, Mushahid recalled that during the meeting between the then-ruler of Afghanistan, Mullah Omar, with the Chinese Ambassador to Islamabad, Lu Xulin, at Kandahar in December 2000, the Taliban's supreme commander had reportedly ensured to respect sovereignty of China, non-interference in its internal affairs and not letting anybody to use Afghan territory against the neighbouring country.
Senator Mushahid briefed the participants about his recent visits to Afghanistan, meetings with Afghan leaders including President Karzai, presidential candidate Dr Abdullah Abdullah, and visit to Brussels where he interacted with NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow'.
"Pakistan's principal concerns centered on security and stability in Afghanistan, primarily to ensure that there would be no vacuum nor an 'action replay' of the 1989 exit of the Soviet Red Army, which had resulted in a long, debilitating civil war plus the continued presence of 2.5 million Afghan refugees," said Mushahid.
He informed the participants that the Pakistan-China Institute, under his chairmanship, had organized the first-ever trilateral dialogue of think tanks of Pakistan, China and Afghanistan at Beijing in August 2006 with the cooperation of the China Institute of International Studies, a think tank of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Earlier, one of the key speakers of the seminar, Chen Huaifan, led a delegation of the Chinese People's Association for Peace & Disarmament (CPAPD) to visit the Pakistan-China Institute and had a meeting with Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed and his team.
She appreciated the role of Pakistan-China Institute in promoting people-to-people ties between Pakistan and China, and hoped that cooperation between PCI and CPAPD would be strengthened at the institutional level. On the occasion, Senator Mushahid invited CPAPD to participate in the second security dialogue, convening in Islamabad, in May 2014.
The other issues of mutual interest including the situation arising out of the 2014 projected withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan, the interests and role of Pakistan and China in such a scenario, as well the Pakistan-China Economic Corridor in the context of President Xi Jinping's concept of a Central Asia Economic Belt were also came under discussion.
While answering a question related to Afghan Taliban-Iran relations and peace dialogue with Pakistani Taliban, the senator said that it seems that the Taliban groups are willing to keep peaceful ties with all neighbors, which is a positive development.
Besides Senator Mushahid Hussain and Chen Huaifan, the seminar was also addressed by Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri, Shamshad Ahmad Khan, Lt Gen (R) Talat Masood, Lt Gen (R) Asad Durrani, Wang Zuoquan, and others.