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Peaceful Afghanistan can unlock the door to prosperity: Pakistan president

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Pakistan President Dr. Arif Alvi said peace in Afghanistan will bring prosperity to the region and open a window of business opportunities for the world to connect with Central Asian states through the war-torn country. In an exclusive interview with Khaleej Times during his two-day visit to the UAE, the president said Pakistan wants peace in Afghanistan as it will have a positive impact on the country but also on the entire region.“Devastation in Afghanistan means more refugees in Pakistan. We don’t want any instability in our neighboring country and hope to see an ‘inclusive government’ representing all political stakeholders,” Dr. Alvi said.

Dispelling the impression that Islamabad has been backing the change in regime, he said Pakistan is not an active player in Afghanistan.

“We are just helping the Taliban on humanitarian grounds as the Afghans are suffering due to sanctions and blockage of funds. There is a flight of capital from Pakistan to Afghanistan. So, it is in our interest to bring stability in the country,” he said.

Dr. Alvi termed the US withdrawal “a hasty call” and said there was no military solution in Afghanistan. “We always tried to persuade the US into avoiding war, and back negotiations as a better solution. If US and Nato forces are unable to bring stability in Afghanistan despite spending $2.3 trillion, then how will Pakistan be able to do that?” the president asked. Dr Alvi said that Pakistan has been hosting four million refugees and stressed that such a gesture must be considered as a matter of goodwill by the Afghan people.

“We have also played a very active and positive role in the repatriation of diplomats and other people from Afghanistan and the world has acknowledged our efforts,” he said.

Rising inflation

President Alvi said inflation is on the rise worldwide and Pakistan is not the only country in the world facing this challenge.

“Inflation is high because commodities and oil prices are increasing in the international market. However, the government will be taking steps to control the food inflation through supply chain mechanism and good governance,” he said.

In reply to a question, he said the country is on the right track and its future is bright.

“The government has taken the right steps at the right time to overcome serious challenges such as the Covid-19 pandemic, jobs creation, and reviving the economy. We have managed to register close to four percent GDP growth rate in last financial year despite the pandemic,” he said.

Expo 2020

About the Expo 2020 Dubai, the president said it is a wonderful event and all credit goes to the visionary leadership for hosting a successful show despite a challenging environment worldwide.

“The Expo 2020 is a landmark event not just for the UAE but also for the whole region. It offers a unique opportunity to the countries of the region and beyond to establish linkages and partnerships with multinational companies,” the president said.

“We have a very beautiful pavilion at the Expo. I suggest everyone should go to the Expo and must visit the pavilion projecting Pakistan’s positive image as a peaceful country,” the President said.

Dr. Alvi also expressed grief over the sad demise of nuclear scientist Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan who passed away in Islamabad on Sunday morning at the age of 85.

“He helped us develop nation-saving nuclear deterrence, and a grateful nation will never forget his services in this regard,” he said.

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