Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that no one can predict how the future in Afghanistan will unfold, pointing out to the outcome of the Afghan peace process and a future government in the country.
“I’m afraid no one can predict which way things will go in Afghanistan right now,” Khan said in an interview on Der Spiegel on Oct. 30. “What I can say is that after Afghanistan, the country that wants peace most is Pakistan.”
The peace negotiations in Doha between delegates from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban started on September 12. The talks have faced deadlock over two disputed points on procedural rules of the negotiations that include the religious basis for the talks and the connection of the US-Taliban deal with the negotiations.
Khan said his country used Afghan refugees as a leverage to bring the Taliban to the table of negotiations.
“With 2.7 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan, we have a certain amount of leverage, which we used to the utmost. I am very pleased that we succeeded.”
Abdullah Abdullah, head of the High Council for National Reconciliation, visited Pakistan in September and met with its leaders, including Imran Khan. Meanwhile, Hizb-e-Islami leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar also visited Pakistan this month and met with its officials.
In response to a question that he allegedly discussed a power-sharing deal between Hekmatyar and the Taliban once the US troops withdraw, Khan said, “Gulbuddin Hekmatyar took part in the elections in Afghanistan and he accepts the constitution of Afghanistan.”
“We have no favorites in Afghanistan. Our only interest is that the future government in Kabul does not allow India to operate from there against Pakistan,” Khan said.
This comes as the Pakistani prime minister at an event in Islamabad last week on Monday said his government will make the utmost efforts to ensure that there is a reduction in violence and a ceasefire in Afghanistan as Afghan are suffering from the war every day.
Khan said stability in Afghanistan will benefit Pakistan as it wants to connect to Central Asia economically through Afghanistan. He mentioned that lessons should be learned from the past and that the two countries should look to the future and move forward from the past.