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‘A Spoiler Can’t be a Peacemaker’

by Newsweek Pakistan

National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf. Photo courtesy Islamabad Policy Research Institute

NSA Mooed Yusuf says Pakistan will not attend Indian conference on Afghanistan and reiterates calls for world to take notice of Delhi’s human rights abuses

National Security Adviser (NSA) Moeed Yusuf on Tuesday said that he will not be attending an upcoming dialogue, hosted by India, on the prevailing situation in Afghanistan.

“I will not go, a spoiler can’t be a peacemaker,” he said in response to a question on whether Pakistan would attend the moot to which Delhi has invited China, Iran, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in addition to Islamabad.

Reiterating his regret at the international community’s silence over rampant human rights violations in India-held Kashmir, Yusuf told a press conference in Islamabad that Delhi’s “expansionist” policies were endangering the entire South Asian region. Summarizing the obstacles to Pakistan achieving peace in the region, he lashed out at India, pointing to the Narendra Modi-led government’s “behavior and ideology” as making it all but impossible to progress.

Urging the global community to take notice of the downward spiral in India, he said it was unfortunate that the world had “kept its eyes closed and isn’t talking to India as it should.” He also stressed that establishing peace in Afghanistan would allow it to become a major hub for regional connectivity.

To another question on comments attributed to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Authority Chairman Khalid Mansoor, in which he had reportedly alleged that the U.S. was trying to derail the project, the NSA claimed the official had been “quoted completely out of context.”

Neighborly obligations

During his media interaction, Yusuf reiterated the PTI-led government’s stance of Pakistan not having the option to disengage from Afghanistan due to its geographic location. Regretting that Pakistan had been criticized for its “proactive” engagement with the new Taliban regime in Kabul, he reiterated calls for the global community to remain engaged with Afghanistan to avoid a humanitarian crisis.

“This is not a matter of the Taliban or some other government but of the ordinary Afghan,” he said, adding that Pakistan had suffered the most after Afghanistan over the four decades of war that had been experienced by the neighboring state. “We are the biggest victim of this [instability in Afghanistan] so when we talk about stability in Afghanistan then one [reason] is that it is the right of our Afghan brothers and sisters … it is also necessary for our national security that there is stability in Afghanistan and continuous peace is established,” he said, adding that it was Pakistan’s “right” to remind the world of this.

Uzbek support

Earlier, the NSA signed a Protocol on the Establishment of Joint Security Commission with Uzbekistan and participated in its inaugural session. He said that the commission has discussed a wide range of issues, including transnational crime, drug trafficking, cooperation against terrorism and mutual capacity building in areas such as disaster management.

He lamented that Pakistan had failed to profit off its geographical location in the past, adding that the incumbent government’s geo-economic policy sought to correct this. He emphasized that Central Asian states such as Uzbekistan were a “crucial element” for Pakistan to fulfill its geo-economic vision.

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