Pakistan announced on Thursday to host a three-day conference on Afghan peace process on July 17-19. But an Afghan presidential envoy said the government invitees may not participate “due to time constraints.” Foreign Office Spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri told the weekly briefing in Islamabad Pakistan is hosting the Afghan Peace Conference on 17-19 July and any speculations about postponement of the Conference are entirely baseless. He said the Conference will provide momentum to the ongoing efforts for peace in Afghanistan and that a number of Afghan leaders have already confirmed their participation. Daily Times has seen a list of 30 senior Afghan leaders who have been invited to the conference to be held in Islamabad. However, Umar Daudzai, President Ghani’s special representative for Pakistan, told Daily Times from Kabul that Kabul has proposed postponement of the event for some time as a delegation of Afghan leaders are planning to travel to Doha for talks with the Taliban. The Pakistani spokesman said the Taliban have not been invited to the conference. “As for the participation in the Conference, Taliban are not among the invitees. They have visited Pakistan many times and we’ve had detailed discussions with them on the Afghan Peace Process,” Chaudhri said. He said the aim of the forthcoming Peace Conference is to engage with and consult all sides on the Afghan Peace Process, adding Pakistan hopes that this Conference will provide impetus to the ongoing efforts for peace in Afghanistan. Some of the important invitees are: , Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Speaker of the National Assembly Mir Rehman Rehmani, Afghan Foreign Minister Haneef Atmar, former president Hamid Karzai, chief of Hizb-e-Islami Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Chief of Jamiat-e-Islami Salahuddin Rabbani, Afghan President’s special representative for Pakistan, Umar Daudzai, Batoor Dostam, son of Marshal Rashid Dostam, ex-governor Herat Ismail Khan, ex-governor Balkh Atta Mohamamd Noor, ex-interior minister Younas Qanooni, Hizb-e-Wahdat leaders Karim Khalili and Mohammad Mohaqiq, former Mujahideen Leader Abdul Rab Rasool Sayyaf, ex-ambassador Omar Zakhilwal, NIFA chief Hamid Gailani, member of negotiation team Faozia Kofi, senior politicians Ishaq Gailani and Mirwais Yasini. When asked about Pakistan’s position on Afghanistan in view of the on-going situation, the spokesman said Pakistan has repeatedly called for an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement in Afghanistan. “We have no favourites in Afghanistan and we stand with the people of Afghanistan. We are engaged with all sides in Afghanistan as part of our efforts to facilitate the Afghan Peace Process,” he said. When asked about Pakistan’s stance that it does not control the Taliban, he said it is not Pakistan’s policy to control any side but it is for the Afghans to decide their future. Our role is only that of a facilitator. “We continue to urge all parties to the Afghan conflict to show flexibility and engage meaningfully with each other. We hope that the Afghans will not miss the opportunity to work out an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement that is Afghan-led and Afghan-owned,” the spokesman further said. To a question about the TTP’s presence in Afghanistan, he said Pakistan has always maintained that peace in Afghanistan is in Pakistan’s interest “The security situation in Afghanistan has a direct bearing on the security situation in Pakistan. Any security vacuum in Afghanistan can be exploited by spoilers. We have shared evidence of Indian use of Afghan soil for state sponsored terrorism against Pakistan.” Chaudhri said Pakistan continues to host over three million Afghan refugees for over 4 decades and is not in a position to cater to further influx of Afghan refugees, and for that peace and stability in Afghanistan are important. “Economic integration and regional connectivity cannot be achieved without peace and stability in Afghanistan. Peace in Afghanistan is essential for successful implementation of regional connectivity initiatives.” To another question on the Taliban gaining control over the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region, he said a large chunk of Pakistan-Afghanistan trade takes place through the Spin Boldak crossing point. “Additionally, this crossing point is used by over 20,000 people on a daily basis. The crossing helps sustain many Afghan families. It is therefore important that the border is re-opened as soon as possible.” When asked about Turkey’s role in Afghanistan, the spokesman said Pakistan attaches great value to Turkey’s efforts for peace and stability in Afghanistan, adding Pakistan has remained supportive of the Turkish-led initiatives on Afghanistan including the Heart of Asia Istanbul Process. “We will continue to work with the international community including Turkey in the efforts to seek lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan. As for the specifics of the security in Afghanistan, it’s for the Afghan parties to decide. The imperative of broader consensus in this regard cannot be overemphasized,” he said.