Saturday, January 28, 2023

Pakistan agrees to release senior Taliban leaders

Immigration News

Mullah BaradarAccording to reports Pakistani and Afghan officials have reached to an agreement to release senior Taliban leaders imprisoned in Pakistan in a bid to support Afghan peace process.

The agreement has not been formally confirmed by Afghan and Pakistan officials so far however reports suggest that Afghan Foreign Minister Dr Zalmai Rassoul and Pakistani side discussed in details the pros and cons of releasing the Taliban leaders and agreed that all the leaders, including Baradar who was a former Taliban military chief and was arrested in Karachi in 2010, would be released at the right time. Pakistan and Afghanistan have already activated a joint commission on the prisoners’ release.

Sources quoted by Pak Tribune said, “There are several factors that Pakistan and Afghanistan want to assess.”

A senior Afghan official who was not authorised to speak to media told Pak Tribune on condition of anonymity that President Hamid Karzai is planning a visit to Pakistan to finalise all matters. “He would soon visit Pakistan.” The Afghan Embassy in Islamabad earlier confirmed the visit of Karzai, but said that the two sides were working on fixing a date.

In a joint press conference after having a meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari this month in Ankara, President Karzai had said, “We discussed various ways of putting into action the promises that we have made, with the hope that now we should be taking practical steps in bringing more confidence and trust.” During his address to a joint meeting of political and security council and the European Union Military Committee in Brussels, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani reiterated Pakistan’s support to an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led reconciliation process in Afghanistan.

Pakistan has always wanted to play a role in Afghanistan’s reconciliation efforts and resented attempts to isolate it from them. Mullah Baradar, for instance, was arrested when he rouched out to the Afghan Government on his own.

It is possible that the release of further prisoners or any assistance in the peace talks depends on Pakistan’s own sense of its level of involvement.

The belief that Pakistan would be able to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table is based on the assumption that it holds a massive sway over the group. This influence may be overestimated.

Pakistani relations with Mullah Omar’s Quetta Shura, the faction with which the Afghan Government and the United States wish to negotiate, are tenuous at best and restricted to the provision of physical refuge. The relations between Pakistan and the Taliban Government were similarly strained. It may not be possible for Pakistan to play a bigger role than it already is.

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