Veteran Afghan politician and Hizb-e-Islami’s leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar said Pakistan should facilitate Afghan investors and businessmen to enable them to bring their investment to Pakistan from the rest of the countries.
Speaking at the Institute of Policy Studies, Islamabad, upon conclusion of his three-day visit to Pakistan at the invitation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hekmatyar said Afghans had invested about $20 billion in other countries, including Turkey and the Gulf states during the war.
He suggested that Pakistan should facilitate Afghan investors and businessmen for enabling them to bring their investment to the country.
Afghan investors should be given facilities including permission to open bank accounts, buy property on the basis of Afghan passports, and long-term visas such as those provided by certain European countries, Hekmatyar proposed.
He said during his meetings with the top Pakistani leadership he held detailed discussions on providing facilities to the Afghan investors, and expressed the hope it would be implemented soon.
“The response we got from the Pakistani authorities was very positive and I hope Islamabad will soon announce these facilities for Afghan investors,” Hekmatyar said, adding that investing in Pakistan would be more viable for Afghans than any other country.
On the Afghan peace process, he said the only durable solution for peace in Afghanistan was that “the US should withdraw its troops and a non-aligned, independent and sovereign government should be formed by Afghans in light of their beliefs and traditions without any interference”.
“Otherwise, the country would slip into another civil war,” warned the former Afghan warlord.
Hekmatyar, who has twice served as Afghan prime minister in the 1990s, said it was the requirement of justice that those who have sacrificed for Afghanistan for so many years should have the right to govern the country now.
He said Afghan groups should have the opportunity to enter into negotiations with each other at a neutral venue on only two-point agenda: the withdrawal of the US from Afghanistan and an independent sovereign government.
The other national issues such as constitution and type of government should be left for later, after peace is restored, he said, adding these are national issues and no external forces have the right to decide about these matters.
“The US has been defeated in Afghanistan without achieving any goals and the corrupt and incompetent government of Ashraf Ghani is the main reason for its failure. It will be a mistake, if the US now adopts another policy other than leaving Afghanistan,” he added.
He said unfortunately some countries think a vacuum might be created once the US leaves Afghanistan which they will be able to fill.
“I hope Americans will not repeat the deadly mistake of the Soviets who established their puppet government in Kabul before leaving Afghanistan,” he added.
Hekmatyar warned rival countries against transferring their hostilities to Afghan soil. “The continuation of war in Afghanistan is not in anyone’s favour, including India. The reason behind India’s support of the current Afghan government could be Kashmir,” he said, adding that India should not transfer its Kashmir war to Afghanistan.
He said his group had endorsed the US-Taliban agreement although they had their own observations and reservations about the process and also wanted to be part of the negotiations.
However, it contains the vital point that the US will leave Afghanistan, though its timeframe could have been reduced.
He maintained that majority of political parties in Afghanistan were not supporting the Afghan government’s stance on the peace process. He felt the current government in Kabul was not ready to enter into negotiations with all political parties.
“Negotiations would start between Hizb-e-Islami and Taliban with the objective to make the peace durable and lasting. Peace is not achievable without bringing every stakeholder on board,” he added.
Hekmatyar said the US-Taliban peace agreement would not have been possible without the critical support and facilitation of Pakistan.
“Pakistan helped the US in Afghanistan but the Americans still preferred India over Pakistan. “This is because superpowers have their own designs and they do things in their own interests,” he added.
He said that his visit to Pakistan comes at a time when the Afghan peace negotiation process was at a critical stage and that Pakistan was keen for an Afghan-owned peace process in Afghanistan.
He said the Pakistani officials had assured that all mutual problems would be solved gradually through mutual understanding.
The forum was chaired by Executive President IPS Khalid Rahman and moderated by former Ambassador Syed Abrar Hussain.
Pakistan’s Special Envoy for Afghanistan, former ambassador Mohammad Sadiq was also present on the occasion.
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