Karachi - General (r) Ehsanul Haq, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, has said Pakistan has been supporting political transition and peace efforts in Afghanistan since the US invasion in 2001.

“Pakistan was clear from day one that dialogue among all stakeholders was the solution to the Afghan problem,” he said while addressing a seminar. The Rabita Forum International organised the seminar titled ‘Pakistan’s Economic and Security Challenges and Way Out’ here at a local hotel. A good number of students and teachers also participated in the event.

Haq said: “Soon after the US attack on Afghanistan, former president Pervez Musharraf asked the then US President George W Bush to move from war to political transition.” He said it was responsibility of all sides participating in the Afghan peace process – the US, Afghan Taliban and the Afghan government – to salvage the deal for a lasting peace.

The ex-serviceman rejected Musharraf’s claims of ‘handing over Pakistanis to the US for money’. “General (r) Musharraf’s claims of handing over Pakistanis to the United States in return of money were baseless. Not a single Pakistani was handed over to the US,” Haq said.

He stressed the need for developing right assumptions as a nation to achieve a better conclusion and devise a proper strategy for resolving issues being faced by the country. “Wrong assumptions lead to wrong conclusions and therefore impact the outcome of any strategy devised by the country,” he said. For example, he said people consider Pakistan created Taliban, which is a wrong assumption and propaganda to malign Pakistan by enemies. Haq said economic stability should not be linked to nuclear capability.

 “People ask as to why we have made nuclear weapons when we are unable to provide food to citizens. Pakistanis are a resilient nation and had courageously fought back in crisis faced by the country. We should be proud of it,” he said.  Haq laid stress on devising an integrated policy to cope with security challenges.

 “Western side of the country from Afghanistan to Lebanon has delicate security issues, where Shia-Sunni phenomenon has divided the nations. This makes difficult for Pakistan to maintain its ties with Saudi Arabia and Iran,” he said.

He said it remained since the creation of country. India wants to destabilize Pakistan whether through RAW agents like Kulbhushan Jadhav or through TTP whose key commander Ehsanullah Ehsan revealed his ties with India, But its efforts were frustrated due to initiatives under CPEC and current uprising in Kashmir.

 He stressed the need for coordination between state organs as well as provinces and centre to fend off internal challenges.  “We are the only country across globe that has successfully eliminated terrorism from the country through the collective efforts,” he said.

Other speakers also called for joint efforts to cope with challenges being faced by the country.