Pakistan warns of a civil war in post-NATO Afghanistan


ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday said it welcomed NATO’S plan for a phased withdrawal from Afghanistan but it would not like the neighboring country to plunge once again into a civil war.
“We will welcome the withdrawal of coalition forces from Afghanistan as and when it happens. But obviously, we would not like Afghanistan to be left on its own,” Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said while addressing his weekly press briefing.
He said, “We would like the process of troops’ withdrawal to go ahead in tandem with stabilisation in Afghanistan because we would not like the situation to once again plunge into anarchy or into civil war in Afghanistan.”
Basit said, “Pakistan hopes that by 2014 the coalition forces would be able or to have developed the Afghan national army and other security forces in Afghanistan, enabling them to take full charge of the country. That is the only worry or concern we have.” In response to a query, he said Pakistan wanted India to show “courage” to resume negotiations to resolve all outstanding issues.
“New Delhi cannot be selective and cherry-pick the issues to discuss with Pakistan,” he said. “India’s policy vis-a-vis Pakistan clearly lacks clarity. While they publicly talk of discussing and resolving all bilateral issues through negotiations and dialogue, in actual terms they do not show any political will to walk the talk.”
“We wish India summons up the courage to do what it says,” he said. Basit said, “India knows fully well that without resolving the Kashmir dispute, there can neither be mutual trust between Pakistan and India nor can there be viable peace in the region.
“Pakistan has always maintained that all issues between Pakistan and India, including the Kashmir dispute, should be resolved through dialogue,” he said. Asked about Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao’s remarks that India needs no lessons from Pakistan regarding the expansion of the UN Security Council, Basit said Rao’s reaction was off the mark.
He said India was responsible for violating principles enshrined in the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and several UN resolutions and that was the reason for its aversion to moral and legal norms.
He said Pakistan had also conveyed to the US its concerns about the Washington’s support for India’s bid for permanent membership of the UN Security Council. He said India might be a regional or a global power but that did not allow it to keep suppressing the people of Kashmir. To a question, Basit said it was “preposterous” to link the ISI to the Mumbai attacks.
“The trial of the seven accused in the Mumbai attacks is underway in Pakistan. We are committed to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attacks to justice so dragging the ISI into this in any manner is preposterous,” he said.
Answering a query, he once again said Pakistan was against the drone attacks and had been impressing upon the Obama administration to revisit its policy, as it was not helping the counter-terrorism efforts but was rather counterproductive. “There is no question that Pakistan will allow drone attacks in Balochistan or any other part of the country,” he said.