Pakistan, Qatar supporting US talks with Taliban: FO

Pakistan, Qatar supporting US talks with Taliban: FO Pakistan, Qatar supporting US talks with Taliban: FO

The Foreign Office on Thursday said Pakistan and Qatar are supporting talks between the United States leadership and the Taliban, as the two sides pursue a potential deal to bring an end to Afghanistan's 17-year conflict.

In his weekly press briefing, Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal said the Afghan peace and reconciliation process is a collective responsibility.

Negotiations between the Taliban and US officials in Qatar entered a fourth straight day today, as Washington steps up efforts for a peace deal that could pave the way for the Taliban´s participation in the next government.

The US said Tuesday it had resumed talks with the insurgents in Qatar, where special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad was meeting Taliban representatives. Khalilzad was in Pakistan earlier where he met with Prime Minister Imran Khan as part of a regional tour that saw the envoy shuttling between India, China and Afghanistan.

'India showing a childish attitude on Kartarpur Corridor'

The Foreign Office spokesperson regretted that India was showing a childish attitude towards finalising the draft agreement on Kartarpur Corridor.

Dr Faisal said Pakistan on Monday had shared a detailed proposal along with a draft agreement with the Indian authorities in line with the spirit of Prime Minister's vision and invited an Indian delegation to Pakistan to discuss and finalise modalities for the agreement.

India, instead of responding to Pakistan's proposal, sent a set of two dates for a Pakistani team to visit New Delhi for the purpose, the spokesperson shared. 

He added that Pakistan, unlike India, would come out with a mature and well considered response on this highly important matter and respond to the Indian move very soon.

Responding to a question on the latest ceasefire violations by India along the Line of Control, the spokesperson said India resorts to such diversionary tactics to cover its ongoing atrocities against innocent Kashmiris in occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

He said India committed 2,300 ceasefire violations last year and these violations continue to take place. Pakistan is responding in a befitting manner to the unprovoked Indian firing on the LoC, he added. 

The spokesperson categorically stated that Pakistan would respond to India in the kind.

He added that Pakistan raised the issue of Indian brutality in occupied Kashmir with UNGA President Maria Fernanda Espinosa on her visit to Pakistan.

'No date decided for PM Imran-Trump meeting'

About US Senator Lindsey Graham’s suggestion for a meeting between President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Imran, Dr Faisal said that no date or schedule has yet been decided.

Earlier this month, Graham met with the prime minister in Islamabad where he said Khan was an "agent of change" and a "new partner" who could potentially help with a peace deal in Afghanistan.

"I'm going to urge him [Trump] to meet with the prime minister as soon as practical," Graham had told reporters, saying he believed Khan and Trump would "hit it off" because they have "similar personalities".

When asked about Pakistani prisoners languishing in Afghan jails, the spokesperson said negotiations with the Afghan authorities are in progress and it is hoped that some Pakistani prisoners would soon be released and repatriated.

To another question, the spokesperson strongly ruled out the presence of Daesh on Pakistani soil.

'If the SC decides not to allow appeal, Asia Bibi free to go'

Responding to a question regarding the Supreme Court setting a date to hear a review petition filed against the top court’s verdict acquitting Asia Bibi of blasphemy charges and setting her free, Dr Faisal said that if the Supreme Court decides not to allow the appeal she should be free to go.

Furthermore, the spokesperson said that Pakistan’s policy towards Israel has not changed.

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