ISLAMABAD, Oct 1 (Asia Free Press): Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Friday said the recent proposed bill moved in the US Senate seeking Pakistan’s role in the present Afghanistan situation was “an attempt to pass on the buck” and stressed that Pakistan had sufficient reasons to defend the course.
“Pakistan will protect its interests and defend its position. The U.S. has to understand the role played by Pakistan in facilitating the peace process,” state-run APP quoted Qureshi told reporters during his joint new conference with visiting foreign minister of Denmark Jeppe Kofod.
He was responding to a question over the recent bill presented in the U.S. Senate that sought to assess Pakistan’s role before and after the fall of Kabul to the reigns of the Afghan Taliban.
The foreign minister said “scape-goating Pakistan would in fact mean overlooking the ground realities”.
Qureshi said Pakistan would not ignore the implications of the proposed bill on Pakistan, adding that “we are cognizant and can explain”.
He pointed out that the bill did not have a bipartisan understanding over it and was presented by a group of Republican senators, who were even critical of some U.S. policies and were also against the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“Let us not be excessively obsessed with the bill. There are lobbies in the U.S. and our neighbors in the region who would like to play it up,” he said. He was referring to his country’s rival India.
Earlier, on Wednesday Pakistan Foreign Ministry rejected the US lawmakers’ threats and said the ‘coercive’ approach will not work more.
Reacting to the draft bill introduced by a group of Republican lawmakers in the Senate to assess the circumstances of US failure in Afghanistan, the foreign ministry spokesman said references to Pakistan in the bill are “completely unwarranted”.
“We see that a debate is underway in Washington both in the media and on Capitol Hill to reflect on and examine the circumstances leading to the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. The draft legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate by a group of Senate Republicans seems to be a reaction to this debate,” said Asim Iftikhar Ahmad, in a statement.
He added that inclusion references to Pakistan in the legislation are “completely unwarranted”
“We find all such references inconsistent with the spirit of Pakistan-U.S. cooperation on Afghanistan since 2001, including facilitation of the Afghan [peace process] and during the recent evacuations of American and other nationals from Afghanistan,” he said.
The foreign ministry added that Pakistan has consistently maintained that there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan. Similarly, a ‘coercive’ approach will not work and the only way to achieve long-term sustainable peace in Afghanistan is through engagement and dialogue.
“Moreover, sustained security cooperation between Pakistan and the United States would remain critical in dealing with any future terrorist threat in the region. Such proposed legislative measures are, therefore, uncalled for and counterproductive,” it added.
On Monday, a group of Republican senators led by Senator Jim Risch, ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, moved a bill in the Senate that seeks to assess Pakistan’s alleged role in Afghanistan before and after the fall of Kabul and in the Taliban offensive in Panjshir Valley.
The proposed legislation calls for a comprehensive report on who supported the Taliban during America’s 20 years in Afghanistan, helped the group in capturing Kabul in mid-August, and supported their offensive on Panjshir Valley, Dawn reported.
They also included the Pakistan name to assess Islamabad’s role in Afghanistan.
Pakistan cabinet members also strongly reacted to the US lawmakers’ move and said the US want to scapegoat Pakistan for their failure.
“So again Pakistan will be made to pay a heavy price for being an ally of US in its “War on Terror” as a Bill (pp 25-26) is introduced in US Senate in aftermath of the US’s chaotic Afghan withdrawal followed by the collapse of ANA & Ashraf Ghani’s flight to UAE,” Shireen Mazari, Human Rights Minister of Pakistan tweeted.
“disastrous fallout of these attacks on our tribal people & area. US Senate should do serious introspection: Where did ‘$ 2 trillion’ disappear? Why did the heavily-invested-in ANA simply dissolve? Who asked Pakistan to free TTA leadership? Who signed the Doha agreement with TTA & hosted them in DC?” she questioned.
Mazari added that “Enough is enough” & “It is time for those powers who were present in Afghanistan to look to their failures instead of targeting Pakistan which paid a heavy price in lives lost, social and economic costs, refugees, all for being an ally and suffering constant abuse, in a war that was not ours.”
Pakistani minister also posted a story of US media in which Florida Republican Michael Waltz allegedly made up to $25 million from the sale of Metis Solutions, a defense contractor with a spotty record training Afghan security forces.
“The man US Senate shd question why ANA simply “disappeared”! “Led in part by Waltz, the company won coveted contracts to train special forces in Afghanistan, including a controversial program to develop artisanal mining operations in strategic villages,” she said.
Waltz is among those Republican lawmakers who criticizing President Biden for the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, despite the peace deal was signed by President Donald Trump of Republican.
The US forces’ withdrawal from Afghanistan has closed businesses of many influential people who were getting in millions from military contracts in the war-torn country.