Prime Minister Gilani to discuss Afghan peace-process with Qatar’s leaders

Saturday, February 4th, 2012 12:46:57 by

Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani will discuss the Pakistan’s stance with the Gulf state’s leaders on the issue of peace talks with the Afghan Taliban during his visit to Qatar, expected by next week.

Media reports quoting Pakistani officials reported that the Pakistani premier will leave for Qatar next week to meet Gulf state’s rulers.

A few weeks back, the Afghan Taliban, in quite a major development, announced they would set up a political office in Qatar.  It was a key boost in a peace process that has already been marked by setbacks and mistrust among the central figures.

Amid unease between Kabul and Islamabad over the decision by the Taliban to open the Qatar office rather by Dubai or Saudi Arabia, the Gilani’s visit will bring a new level of discussion over the issue.

Earlier, the officials from Pakistan and Afghanistan had expressed their concerns over the developments, saying they were being left out of the peace negotiations.

The report quoting foreign office spokesman Abdul Basit observed, “Our prime minister will have discussions in this connection with the Qatar leadership. He will also inform them that what the Pakistani perspective in this situation is.”

The official clarified, “While it is not specifically on the agenda, Afghanistan will be discussed, including briefings from the Qatari leadership on efforts being made for the peace process, the Taliban office.”

According to the report Pakistan is a key player in moves to end the 10-year-old war in Afghanistan because many of the leaders of the insurgency are said to be taking refuge on its territorial dominion.

The ties between moved towards normalization after Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar paid a visit to Kabul last week. She said that ill will had eased considerably between the two neighboring states.

In her view, Pakistan has not been playing a substantial role in the nascent Afghan peace process. She, however, said that they would encourage militant groups like the Haqqani network or the Taliban to lay down their weapons if asked by Afghanistan to initiate the peace process.

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