People from Afghanistan arrive with their belongings at the Friendship Gate crossing point in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border town of Chaman, Pakistan (Reuters)
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Monday warned of potential spillovers from the Afghan crisis, saying the world would have to deal with a “huge mess” if its advice on the war-torn country was ignored.
Information minister Fawad Chaudhry said that the world must listen to Pakistan as “in the recent past, Pakistan’s advice had not been paid heed to, and if Pakistan and the prime minister’s advice was listened to, the situation would have been different.”
In an interview with TRT World, which was published by Dawn, the minister said the situation in Afghanistan was “very worrying” for Pakistan, recalling that “we had to deal with the problems when the Soviet Union left Afghanistan in 1988.”
He said that while the Troika Plus, comprising Russia, China, US and Pakistan, had an important role to play in solving the Afghan conflict, the other group consisting of Turkey, Pakistan, Iran and other central Asian states too needed to take an active role to help resolve the crisis.
Chaudhry said that Pakistan was yet again in a quagmire as the US and NATO forces were leaving Afghanistan. He cautioned that Pakistan was already hosting 3.5 million Afghan refugees, adding “that our economy is not that strong to take more refugees”.
“The way Afghanistan has been abandoned in the past and if the world repeats the same mistake, we will have a hub of extremist organisations right at the border of Pakistan which will obviously be hugely worrying for us,” he cautioned.
The minister insisted that Pakistan was trying its best to stabilise the region as “we are working with regional and international powers for an inclusive government in Afghanistan.”
Chaudhry said, however, that there was no refugee crisis at the moment. “As far as migrants are concerned, because at this stage the takeover was bloodless, so there isn’t a refugee crisis yet and our border is actually normal right now.”
He underlined that Pakistan had a comprehensive strategy to deal with instability as “we do not want to repeat the 1977 episode as we don’t want these migrants to get into Pakistan”.
He stressed that arrangements will be made at the Pak-Afghan border to deal with the exodus of people. “The world has to come to help Pakistan in that situation.”