Islamabad on Tuesday denied playing host to the Taliban on Pakistan's soil, a day after Aghan President Ashraf Ghani threatened to drag his neighbouring country to the United National Security Council over failed peace talks with the militant group. Pakistan also said on Tuesday it was making efforts to promote peace in Afghanistan.
Pakistan also said it was not solely responsible for bringing the Taliban to the table in response to Ghani's speech in the Afghanistan Parliament on Monday. Ghani had said Afghanistan no longer expected Pakistan to bring the Taliban for talks. Pakistan is part of a quadrilateral effort â€” also involving the U.S., Afghanistan, and China â€” to bring the Taliban to the table for dialogue.
"Pakistan has made sincere and consistent efforts to promote lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan," IANS quoted Pakistani foreign ministry spokesperson Nafees Zakaria as saying.
Sartaj Aziz, adviser to the Pakistani prime minister on foreign affairs, had in March admitted that the Taliban were given shelter in Pakistan. The claim was denied by Zakaria on Tuesday.
"We have some influence over them because their leadership is in Pakistan and they get some medical facilities. Their families are here," Aziz had been quoted by Dawn as saying. "We can use those levers to pressure them to say, 'Come to the table'. But we can't negotiate on behalf of the Afghan government because we cannot offer them what the Afghan government can offer them."
Meanwhile, Dawn online quoted a BBC Urdu report as saying that a Taliban delegation was in Karachi for talks with the Afghan government.
In his speech on Monday, Ghani took a stronger stance against the Taliban indicating that peace talks had failed and security forces would be dealing with the militant group, which in its first attack of the "spring offensive" killed 64 people and injured more than 300 in Kabul.