German Envoy lauds Pakistan’s positive role in Afghan peace process

The government of Pakistan and armed forces, he said were quite engaged in trying to convince Taliban to bring about an inclusive government in Afghanistan. Pakistan was aware of its potential importance and role in the entire region, he added.


ISLAMABAD, Germany has appreciated the positive role played by Pakistan in bringing about the ‘Doha Process’ for stability, peace and prosperity in Afghanistan.

In an exclusive interview with Radio Pakistan, German Ambassador to Pakistan Bernhard Schlagheck said it had been acknowledged by the United States and the world community and Germany also recognized this very positive role of Pakistan.

He expressed the confidence that Islamabad would continue playing a very constructive role in Afghanistan in future.

The government of Pakistan and armed forces, he said were quite engaged in trying to convince Taliban to bring about an inclusive government in Afghanistan. Pakistan was aware of its potential importance and role in the entire region, he added.

The ambassador said an inclusive government in Kabul was critical for peace and stability of that country.

To a question about role of Afghanistan’s neighbours, the German ambassador said none of them wanted instability in Afghanistan as it was a recipe of political disaster.

There were different interests and perspectives that were understandable, there was a genuine understanding that peace and stability in Afghanistan was of vital interest to the region, Bernhard Schlagheck remarked.

On terrorism, he said the menace emanating from Afghanistan and spreading to region was of very much importance.

When asked about the recent visit of German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas to Pakistan, he said the visit was focused on bilateral relations and the evolving regional situation, including Afghanistan.

He said Afghanistan was one of the major issues of discussion in meetings of the German foreign minister with Prime Minister Imran Khan, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

The German ambassador said situation in Afghanistan was very much in flux. He said Taliban were as much a reality in Afghanistan as well as the precarious humanitarian situation in the country.

He said Germany being a responsible partner of international community was ready to play its role in Afghanistan.

The ambassador said it was very much important that Taliban were willing to discard their old lenses.

He said we were willing to engage with Afghanistan, however, the question of recognition was not on agenda at the moment. He said we would judge Taliban by their deeds and actions for recognition.

To a question concerning reservations of some Western countries regarding Taliban, he said treatment of women and minorities in Afghanistan and the question of inclusive government in the country were some of the issues the world was looking at.

Bernhard Schlagheck said at the recent Geneva Conference on Afghanistan, Germany pledged 100 million Euros in aid for helping out Afghanistan.

He said we were pondering to add another 500 million Euros into that, but that had not yet been formally announced.

Regarding the policy of Germany for Afghans who wanted to settle in that country, he said we had to take care of those Afghans first who were at risk after rendering their services for German interests.

In addition, he said, many vulnerable Afghans including journalists, human rights activists were airlifted to Germany.

He said Pakistani government was very helpful in that regard and we praised their facilitation to us by land.

Speaking about relations between Pakistan and Germany, he said Germany and Pakistan had been enjoying friendly and amicable relations since the establishment of their diplomatic relations seventy years ago and there was a scope to further widen these in diverse sectors.

He said both countries had strong bilateral contacts manifested by the visit of German ship to Karachi port last week, a German business delegation currently on visit to Karachi and Islamabad and German foreign minister’s visit to Pakistan lately.

Similarly, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa visited Germany this year.

He said German business persons were looking for trade as well as investment opportunities in the promising market of Pakistan. Despite some impediments, the business outlook of Pakistan was outstanding, he remarked.

He told the interviewer that Pakistan and Germany had robust trade relations marked by volume of three billion Euros. There were also intensive people-to-people exchanges and development cooperation between Islamabad and Berlin.

He said Germany had invested roughly four billion Euros over the years in Pakistan in development aid.

He said aid priority had now been shifted according to requirements of the Pakistani government. Currently, the main focus was on climate change, alternative energy including solar and power production and other areas, he added.

Appreciating the steps taken by the incumbent government to make the country greener, Bernhard Schlagheck said Islamabad could be a role model in a clean and green approach to nature and environment. In solar energy production, both countries could enhance cooperation further, he added.

The German ambassador said Pakistan was blessed with ample sunshine and could increase the solar share in its alternative energy mix.

Regarding cooperation in auto sector, the German ambassador said both sides were exploring and discussing further avenues in that regard. In not too distant future, he said, German car manufacturers might enter into the Pakistani market, he added.

Bernhard Schlagheck said we were also cooperating with Pakistan in training the Pakistani youth in learning technical skills.

In addition, Germany had been providing vaccines to many developing countries including Pakistan through Covax, he added.

He said German broadcaster Deutsche Welle had been cooperating with Pakistani media organizations.

He said the DW had some programmes under which Pakistani journalists could be invited to Germany to get further media training.

He told the state broadcaster that German airlines were in consultation with Pakistani authorities to start flights to and from Pakistan. However, no decision had been made as yet, he added.

The German ambassador said people-to-people contacts were very important in development of bilateral relations.

He said tourism and academic exchanges were important as over 5,000 Pakistani students were studying in German educational institutions.

He said Pakistani students could learn German language free of charge in Germany. Besides, the German universities also offer scholarships for international students at various levels.

He said a thriving Pakistani community of 70,000 comprising traders and skilled people was playing a decent role in the development of the German society. This also played a bridge between the two countries, he maintained.

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