APP04-02LAHORE: February 02 Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi addressing during the inauguration ceremony of Building Materials & Product Exhibition at Expo Center. APP photo by Rana Imran ISLAMABAD: Pakistan frustrated what was believed to be a calculated move by Afghanistan, India, the United States and European Union to embarrass the country at the recent “Kabul Process” meeting by linking Pakistan with the Taliban attacks in the documents to be approved by the delegates, Daily Times learnt on Sunday a series of contacts in Kabul with source privy to the development. None of the three key documents – the Kabul Declaration, Concept Paper on Peace and Paper on Regional Counter Terrorism – was shared with Pakistan on time that was violation of the normal procedure, depriving Pakistani delegation to know about the contents, they said. Drafts of documents are routinely shared with the member countries two to three months earlier enabling the delegates to examine the contents and either to approve or disagree if there are anything controversial. Dates of the Kabul Process were announced earlier, however; Pakistan was not given access to the documents and Pakistani diplomats were also not involved in the process of conference preparations, sources in the Afghan capital said. It was also projected in the three papers that Pakistan does not want the Taliban come to the negotiation table, according to a source, who read the papers when they were shared with the delegates just a day before the conference held on February 28. When members of the Pakistani delegation knew about what they thought to be a deliberate plan to embarrass Pakistan, they quickly intervened and raised the issue at highest level with Afghan side and made it clear that it would be one-sided approach if the documents were approved without Pakistan’s consent. The organizers had violated the recognized rules of international events not to share documents with the documents with Pakistan, active member of the Kabul Process, at a time when Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi reiterated support to the Afghan government in his speech at the inauguration of the Afghan part of the multi-billion TAPI gas pipeline project. President Ashraf Ghani had also expected Pakistan to play active role in the Kabul Process as he was planned to unveil his peace and counter terrorism strategy. As a goodwill gesture Pakistan sent high level delegation, headed by Tasnim Aslam, Special Secretary at the Foreign Office, to represent the country in the conference. Ms Aslam’s position is equal to deputy foreign minister in Afghanistan. Most of other countries were represented by ambassadors or deputy ambassadors. As Pakistani delegation knew the plan to use the documents against the country they sought meeting with Afghanistan National Security Adviser Hanif Atmar on the sidelines of the conference without involving either China or Russia, who are now on the same page to press for political solution to the Afghan conflict. “Pakistan wanted to ensure that the documents are acceptable to all sides and shared its concerns at the language of the documents and also complained that the papers were shared just one day ahead of the conference,” a source told Daily Times on Sunday. “Both sides addressed to each other’s concern and removed controversial parts from the documents,” the source said, adding that Pakistan and Afghanistan could reach understanding on many issues if they pursue bilateral track. On the basis of this approach, Pakistan had floated the idea of five joint working groups for cooperation in the key areas of counter-terrorism and reduction of violence, peace and reconciliation, repatriation of refugees and joint economic development. Pakistan had noted “good discussions” at the second meeting of the working groups that took place last month in Islamabad under the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS) in Islamabad last month. However, the Afghan foreign ministry had claimed that no progress was achieved on specific result-oriented, time-bound measures in the APAPPS, particularly in the areas of counter-terrorism, reduction of violence and peace and reconciliation to meet the priorities of Afghanistan. The foreign office in Islamabad did not issue any statement and contents of Tasnim Aslam’s speech she had delivered at the conference. However, people who had seen the speech said that he dismissed the notion that only Pakistan is responsible for reconciliation with the Taliban and made it clear that “Afghan reconciliation is an Afghan affair” and others can facilitate but “primarily role and responsibility is of Afghanistan.” Appreciating President Ghani’s vision of peace and reconciliation, she said, “the main emphasis of the Afghan plan need to be that Afghan Taliban are Afghan nationals and they should become a productive part of an inclusive Afghan society and political mainstream.” She also said many countries in Kabul process have established channels with the Taliban, which should be used to advance the prospects of reconciliation. Published in Daily Times, March 5th 2018.