ISLAMABAD - Linking the outcome of the newly revived peace talks with the militants to the ‘good diplomacy,’ a top British diplomat in Pakistan has hoped for the negotiated settlement in Afghanistan as envisaged in the London moot.
“If right decisions are made and the right policies are formulated and followed, the peace dialogue would certainly help in bringing a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan,” he said. The diplomat was responding to TheNation’s queries on political issues involving Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United Kingdom against the backdrop of the efforts for political settlement in Afghanistan.
Regarding Pakistan’s role in Afghan conflict settlement, the high commissioner said, “Pakistan has shown willingness to play a positive role in the solution of the Afghanistan crises but it depends on how they go about it; I mean Pakistan, Taliban and Afghanistan and how the things turn out between these sides. This is a complicated matter and the right set of option needs to be followed in order to bring an end to the conflict there (in Afghanistan). I’m sure, Pakistan has a positive role to play in this regard.”
Earlier this month, the United Kingdom had hosted a high-profiled trilateral summit on Afghanistan participated by the top government functionaries and military authorities from Afghanistan, Pakistan and the UK. The moot had envisaged bringing an end to the conflict in Afghanistan with the joint cooperation between the three sides. The delegates had voiced support for setting up a political office in Qatar for facilitating dialogue with Taliban.
The joint communiqué on the London moot had stated, “All sides agreed on the urgency of this work and committed themselves to take all necessary measures to achieve the goal of a peace settlement over the next six months.” However, the rejection of the London summit by the Afghan Taliban, followed by a spree of violent attacks by the militants across the Pak-Afghan border, suggested the lack of willingness on their part to engage into negotiations.
In Pakistan, the government’s initiative to make peace with the militants met the same fate amidst the offer of conditional talks put up by the militants, reportedly unacceptable to Pakistan’s security establishment, which seeks unconditional surrender from Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the notorious militant outfit. The British high commissioner said, any role for the UK regarding negotiated settlement in Afghanistan depend on how the Afghans respond to it. The success of the London summit hinged on the will of Afghanistan, he added.
“Afghanistan has shown willingness in the London summit to support the political settlement and it’s purely up to them; the Afghan people and government, if they see any role for us there. And of course there’s the Taliban factor. If the parties to the Afghan conflict want UK’s role in the political settlement there, there’s definitely a room for playing a part in the peace process but certainly we’d like to see a solution that is acceptable to the stakeholders in Afghanistan. Again, the success of the peace initiatives depends on the kind of approach to be followed to this effect. “
To a query, the British envoy said that the conduct of general elections in Pakistan would strengthen democracy. “Certainly it will. It will have a great deal of positive impact on the future of democracy in Pakistan. The elections would strengthen the democracy here. That’s what everybody wants, the continuity of democratic process.”