Unfair to expect Afghanistan to prosperous in eight days: Sheikh Rashid

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KARACHI: Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on Sunday said it would be unfair for the world to expect that Afghanistan would become as prosperous as some Scandinavian country in eight days and cautioned that freezing of Afghan accounts could create a humanitarian crisis.

“We should hope that Taliban would take steps and would not allow terrorist outfits Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan or Daesh to use their land as they had pledged,” he said.

Speaking at a press conference at a local hotel, Mr Ahmed said that intelligence chiefs of eight countries, including two superpowers, visited Pakistan on Saturday.

In the present circumstances, he said, no desire of India could be fulfilled.

He said that Indian media was levelling baseless allegations against Pakistan Army regarding Panjshir Valley and airing baseless and fabricated reports. It should bear in mind that Pakistan’s interest in Afghanistan was only peace, stability and development, he added.

The minister said that Pakistan Army was protecting the country’s borders to prevent any terrorism activity.

The interior minister said: “We facilitated Mullah Baradar to sit with Americans at negotiation table for the cause of peace.”

He said earlier diplomatic planes had requested Pakistan for flying in its air limits but after successful foreign policy of Prime Minister Imran Khan now they requested to land in the country.

About Pakistan’s efforts to help evacuate foreigners from Afghanistan, he said eight to ten thousand foreigners had arrived in the country from Afghanistan for onward journey to their homelands or wherever they wanted to go. The interior ministry had issued 21-day visa to them and one-month visa to those who could not fly to their destinations due to flight delays etc.

Mr Rashid said there was no refugee camp across the country and those Afghans who entered Pakistan illegally had been sent back, even from Karachi.

Replying to a question about US President Joe Biden’s recent talk to Chinese President Xi Jinping, he said that they talked for around 70 minutes and it was a great development. He said that the two superpowers talked to each other after a gap of seven to nine months.

The minister said that bitterness between the US and China also created problems for impartial countries like Pakistan.

Replying to a question, he said that had deposed Afghan president Ashraf Ghani accepted Imran Khan’s advice, he would not have to escape.

“Pakistan leaves the decision about Afghanistan to Afghans. Pakistan does not interfere (in Afghan affairs) and will not allow others to interfere.”

Replying to another question, he said that Imran Khan desired peace in the region, he was in contact with China and Russia on the Afghan situation and would meet their leaders on Sept 17. A meeting was also possible with Iranian president, he added.

Mr Ahmed said that foreign elements were trying to create sectarian issues in Pakistan but no one would be allowed to create religious differences.

Answering a question, he said that it seemed that the Pakistan Democratic Movement was not against the government but was preparing for election campaign as the fourth year of the government had started.

Replying to another question, he said that for (PPP leader) Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, these were the days to play.

He said that Imran Khan and his cabinet wanted to introduce electronic voting machines and if the opposition had any reservations on them it should hold talks with the government to resolve the issue.

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