India faced embarrassment in Afghanistan, says Sheikh Rashid

Sheikh Rasheed reiterates aspiration for peace in Afghanistan.

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has asserted that India faced “embarrassment” in Afghanistan and there was no other option for New Delhi to withdraw its personnel from there.

“India was carrying out terrorist activities in Afghanistan and over the past 40 years, was conveying false news about Pakistan to the world,” he said while addressing a press conference in Rawalpindi today (Sunday).

Talking about the importance of peace in war-torn Afghanistan, the interior minister said China’s investment would not bear fruit unless there was stability in Afghanistan. “Pakistan’s policy has changed, just like the Taliban have changed,” he said, adding that Islamabad would accept any government that has the backing of the Afghan people.

Sheikh Rashid reiterated that Pakistan would stand by its decision to not provide air bases to the United States. “Pakistan aspires for peace in Afghanistan,” the interior minister said, stressing that the government and Opposition were on the same page in this regard.

“It is important, not only for Pakistan, but the entire region to initiate talks with the Afghan Taliban,” he insisted. “No superpower can ignore Pakistan there is no pressure on us,” he claimed, reiterating that the country would not provide bases to anyone for carrying out operations in Afghanistan.

Rasheed’s statement comes after US President Joe Biden last week announced the military mission in Afghanistan would end on Aug 31 despite new concerns about the possibility of a civil war.

“We did not go to Afghanistan to nation-build,” Biden had said. “It’s the right and the responsibility of the Afghan people alone to decide their future and how they want to run their country,” he added.

Last month, Prime Minister Imran Khan, in an interview with Jonathan Swan of HBO Axios, had clearly said that Pakistan will not give its bases to the US for operations in Afghanistan after the latter’s troops’ withdrawal.

‘PTI to form govt in AJK’

Talking about the upcoming elections in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, the interior minister criticized the Opposition leaders, saying that when they make speeches against Prime Minister during their election campaigns, it makes their intentions clear. “They have political issues and may Allah resolve it,” he said.

Rasheed said the US and UK were aware of the many bank accounts the Opposition leaders had there, criticising them for only defending the stance of the people of occupied Kashmir on TV.

“Imran Khan will fight for the Kashmir cause across the globe and PTI will form its government in the upcoming AJK elections,” he said, adding: “PTI is a national party and Pakistan Army is our national army.”