Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, in an interview with Afghanistan’s TOLO News, “passed” the question on whether Osama bin Laden was a terrorist or a martyr.
When asked, “Is he (Osama) a martyr? You disagree? Osama bin Laden?”, Qureshi said, “I will let that pass.”
This was hours after Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan had recalled Osama bin Laden as a “martyr” in the country’s parliament. To this, Qureshi tried to make a case of misquoting, saying, “He was quoted out of context. And, a particular section of the media paired it up.”
In the 50 minutes long interview, Qureshi defended the Taliban as well, saying the group is ready for peace and “they have suffered as well.” The Pakistani foreign minister explained, “if you try and create this impression that the violence is high because of Taliban…that would be an exaggeration”.
Pakistan has been in talks with the Taliban as part of the peace process with its leadership being hosted by the country. Names of various sections of Taliban have been named after Pakistani cities like, Quetta Shura, Peshawar Shura.
When asked, “One would also raise the issue of Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish Mohammed, are they Pakistan-based terrorist groups”, Qureshi said, “We are supporting no terrorist group.” Najafizada then responded, “Maybe you don’t recognize them as terrorists.”
The issue of cross-border terrorism from Pakistan has been raised both by Kabul and New Delhi internationally.
Earlier in 2020, Imran Khan referred to the 9/11 mastermind and global terrorist Osama Bin Laden as a martyr. Khan accused America of killing Osama bin Laden within Pakistan without informing Islamabad.
Another video had also surfaced where he refused to consider bin Laden even a terrorist.
Responding to a question about the change in Pakistan’s policy towards Afghanistan, Qureshi said: “We want Afghanistan to be peaceful and stable because we feel that a peaceful Afghanistan, a stable Afghanistan, gives us the regional connectivity that is required. If we’re looking for economic security and if we’re looking for investments and promotion of bilateral trade and regional trade, it can only come with peace, and peace and stability…is not just Afghanistan’s requirement; it’s Pakistan’s desire as well. You know, we benefit from it.”
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