(Islamabad, March 9):
PAKISTAN HAS decided to send Interior Minister Moinuddin Haider to Afghanistan to dissuade
the Taliban militia from destroying the 2000-year-old Buddha statues, media reports said
The decision was taken after a flurry of meetings following the arrival
of Pakistan military ruler Gen Pervez Musharraf from his eight-day tour of Saudi Arabia on
March 7, the Pakistan Observer said.
Haider would leave for Kandahar tomorrow "to mediate between
Taliban and the world community, " the daily said.
Interior Ministry officials, however, said they were not aware of any
Haider had returned from a not-so-successful mission to Kabul and
Kandahar last month during which he failed to persuade Taliban to sign extradition treaty
The news of Haider's proposed visit to Kandahar comes a day after
Pakistan leadership summoned Taliban ambassador to Islamabad, Mulla Abdul Salam Zaeef, to
convey its displeasure over the destruction of the heritage monuments.
Pakistan's attempts to mediate were seen here as an effort by Islamabad
to deflect criticism that it had done little to prevail on Taliban despite plethora of
appeals from the world community.
Pakistan foreign office spokesman Riaz Mohammed Khan said Zaeef was
informed about Gen Musharraf's appeal to Taliban not to destroy the statues.
Khan, however, said that Taliban's refusal to budge from its decision
would not affect Pakistan's ties with the Taliban.