Islamabad: Pakistan Wednesday called for a peaceful and negotiated settlement of differences over the presidential run-off election in neighbouring Afghanistan.

The call came a day after one of the presidential candidates, Abdullah Abdullah, rejected the preliminary results, which has raised concerns about a looming political crisis.

Afghan media had earlier reported that Abdullah was set to announce a parallel government in a speech to hundreds of supporters in Kabul Tuesday but delayed the announcement after a call from US President Barack Obama.

“It is our earnest hope that all related issues would be resolved peacefully, through dialogue, in a timely manner and within the framework of Afghanistan’s constitution and laws,” Xinhua quoted the Pakistani foreign ministry as saying.

As a political crisis is likely to grow in the coming days if Afghan political rivals failed to remove differences, some countries are likely to spring into the affair. Abdullah said that US Secretary of State John Kerry was likely to arrive in Kabul Friday to encourage both sides to show restraint.

Islamabad, on its part, however, has pointed out that elections are Afghanistan’s internal issue.

“Pakistan has, from the outset, maintained that the Afghan presidential elections are an Afghan affair, with Afghan electoral institutions in the lead,” a foreign ministry statement said.

“We have seen the announcement by the Independent Election Commission regarding preliminary results of the second round and noted the statement that these are not final.”

A foreign ministry spokesperson said a peaceful, stable, unified and prosperous Afghanistan is vital for regional peace and stability.

“At this crucial juncture in Afghanistan, when the country is going through multiple transitions, Pakistan remains in strong solidarity with the brotherly people of Afghanistan,” the spokesperson said, adding that Pakistan would continue to support all endeavours that help advance the cause of peace, stability and development in Afghanistan.

Pakistan supports a peaceful democratic transition in Afghanistan and the country has extended all possible support for the efforts aimed at holding peaceful elections, the spokesperson said.

“Pakistan has also consistently emphasised that it would respect the democratic choice of the Afghan people.”

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Free Press Journal