Is Pakistan moving from strategic depth to strategic divorce
ISLAMABAD: (APP) Pakistan believes in mutual co-existence and friendly relations with neighboring countries including Afghanistan and resolve outstanding issues through dialogue, Spokesman to the Prime Minister Dr Musadik Malik said on Wednesday.
Talking in a PTV program, Dr Malik said Pakistan and Afghanistan have strategic and historic relations and it is in their benefit to resolve the outstanding issues including the matter of Afghan Refugees and border management through dialogue.
"Strategic depth should not turn into strategic divorce. The matter of return of Afghan refugees should be resolved in a friendly manner. We have hosted them for decades and their repatriation should be dignified and respectful," he said in response to a question about repatriation of refugees.
He said strategic depth does not mean solution of issues militarily but it has other aspects as well and a better understanding on issues was vital to resettle refugees and stop across the border activities of the extremists.
Answering a question, he said, during last one year around 1.4 million Afghan refugees have been registered under the National Action Plan who were residing in Pakistan illegally. "Pakistan is fulfilling its international obligation to host these refugees and we shall have to sort out a mechanism for their return."
In this regard he called upon international agencies to prepare a roadmap for their return along with a package to facilitate them economically and politically in their native country. "There should be a time bound and economically viable mechanism based on economic opportunities for a dignified repatriation of refugees."
He said Pakistan's foreign policy is based on having cordial relations with neighbors and our neighbors should also follow the suit instead of a policy of retaliation or tit for tat. It is our shared responsibility to restore peace in the region for progress of the two countries.
Answering another question regarding a statement by Imran Khan about federal government's seriousness on the refugees issue, the Spokesman said, the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) leader often poise to provocative statements on national issues. "The 18th amendment clearly states that in issue of national importance provinces will also cooperate with the federation. If his party has any reservation about refugees' issue, they can take up it at the Council of Common Interests. Issuing irresponsible statements on national issues and fuelling provincialism will do no good to the country."
He reiterated to play any role if Pakistan can bring lasting peace in Afghanistan and expressed hope that Pakistan's policy of co-existence will bear fruit and confusions between Pakistan and Afghanistan will be settled down.