Pakistan on Monday urged the Taliban to remain engaged in the Afghan peace process after the armed group said it would now shun summits about Afghanistan until all foreign forces leave. “They take their own decisions but we will do whatever we can to convince them That it is in their national interest to remain engaged,” Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said of the Taliban in an interview with Reuters in Abu Dhabi. Qureshi said withdrawal delays were always a possibility due to logistics but that the Taliban had largely succeeded in their objective for foreign troops to withdraw and so should show flexibility towards the new Sept 11 deadline. “The troops will be out and a date has been given and the process starts on the 1st of May and goes on until the 11th of September so there is a definite time frame,” Qureshi said. Qureshi said he believed the Taliban would benefit from staying involved but said he had no contact with the group. Qureshi said he feared violence could escalate if the peace process remains deadlocked, plunging Afghanistan into civil war and leading to an exodus of Afghans. Pakistan, which hosts close to 3 million Afghan refugees and economic migrants, has built 90% of a fence along its 2,500 km border with Afghanistan and would hopefully be completed by September, he said. He also said Pakistan was ready to engage in direct dialogue with arch-rival India once Jammu and Kashmir statehood was restored, which New Delhi in 2019 split into territories. “We are two atomic powers that cannot, should not go into a direct conflict. It would be suicidal,” Qureshi said. But he added he had no plans to meet with his Indian counterpart who is also in the United Arab Emirates. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Qureshi Monday met UAE Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan and discussed the enhancement of bilateral trade, investment in Pakistan especially in hospitality industry. Acknowledging Sheikh Nahyan’s contributions to bilateral relations between the two countries, the foreign minister termed him a ‘true friend’ of Pakistan. He appreciated the role played by Sheikh Nahyan in strengthening people-to-people linkages between the two countries. The foreign minister discussed the prospects of enhancing bilateral cooperation, in particular in the fields of investment, tourism and related infrastructure and strengthening the bonds of amity between the peoples of the two countries. The two ministers also exchanged views on the importance of tolerance and coexistence in presenting the true image of Islam and the Islamic society. Thanking the UAE’s leadership for their considerate approach towards expatriates, the foreign minister briefed Sheikh Nahyan about the issues faced by the Pakistani community, in particular the restrictions on visa-related matters. He stressed the importance of resolving them at the earliest. Sheikh Nahyan acknowledged the positive contribution of the Pakistani expatriates to the UAE’s progress and agreed on the need to strengthen people to people linkages.