ISLAMABAD, 28th June, 2016 (WAM) — Adviser to Prime Minister of Pakistan on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz has categorically dispelled an impression of Pakistan’s international isolation, saying, it was pursuing an active foreign policy for promoting and protecting its national interests in the changing geo-strategic situation in the region.

According to the Associated Press of Pakistan he was briefing editors and anchor persons on the entire gamut of foreign policy and Pakistan’s strategy to address emerging challenges in terms of its relations to its neighbours and other countries of the world.

He dwelt at length on Afghanistan, Pakistan relations with India, United States, China, Saudi Arabia, Gulf Cooperation Countries and recounted many achievements of a successful government’s policy in forging its foreign relations while pursuing its vital national interests.

Aziz said the peace process in Afghanistan was deadlocked and could take time to restart. Despite 15 years of war in Afghanistan, peace could not be restored there hence it would come through dialogue.

Afghan Taliban who might not be able to capture Kabul but had the ability to continue fighting. If they started gaining ground they would not talk but if they failed they would come to talks.

However, he made it clear it was not in the hands of Pakistan to bring all the Afghan Taliban groups to a negotiating table but it was ready to facilitate a dialogue process for achieving lasting peace in Afghanistan.

Sartaj Aziz said Pakistan had some influence over Taliban. But since the operation Zarb-e Azb, the Taliban mostly had shifted into Afghanistan and most of their fighting capability was inside Afghanistan now.

Aziz said it was too early to say when the dialogue could kick off again but Pakistan would continue efforts towards that end but talks had to be between Afghan government and the Taliban.

Questioned on firing incident at Torkham border with Afghanistan, he said Pakistan was well in its right to erect a gate inside its border and no one was being allowed to cross into Pakistan since June 1, 2016 without valid documents.

Aziz said after talks with his Afghani counterpart on the sidelines of the recently concluded Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, SCO, a high level mechanism had been agreed upon between the two sides under which Director Generals of both the countries would decide where to built gates for better management of the border between the two sides. This arrangement would help avoid untoward incidents in future, he added.

WAM/AAMIR/bashir