Minister frank-walter steinmeier has called on pakistan, a nuclear power, to take new steps toward reconciliation with its two neighbors, india and afghanistan.
During a visit to islamabad, he appealed to all sides to seek dialogue again in order to overcome existing difficulties. However, his demand for a halt to further executions was met with a rebuff from the pakistani government.
Relations between pakistan and its two neighbors have long been strained. India and pakistan have been fighting for decades over the province of kashmir. Military clashes occur again and again at the border. Dispute with afghanistan centers on relationship with radical islamic taliban militia. Kabul accuses islamabad of supporting extremists.
After meeting with minister-president nawaz sharif, steinmeier spoke of a chance for real progress in the fight against terrorism in the region. "There must also be opportunities here in the region to come together, even if important issues are not up for resolution in the short term."The SPD politician also met with army chief raheel sharif. The military has a major influence on all political decisions in pakistan.
In particular, steinmeier urged a resumption of talks with afghanistan. Without a rapprochement between the two countries, the fight against terrorism will not succeed. "I know about the burdens from the past. Nevertheless, I would like to ask both sides to continue this process of acceptance."He had spoken to afghan president ashraf ghani on sunday along the same lines.
The minister was unsuccessful in his request in islamabad to refrain from further executions, which he described as an "inhumane form of punishment". The prime minister’s political adviser, sartaj asis, said only that it would be possible to "think about it" when the current terrorist threat was over. Steinmeier admitted: "I have the impression that our arguments are not convincing, at least in the short term."
Pakistan resumed executions last december after a terrorist attack on an army school that left more than 140 dead. Since then, about 200 death sentences have been carried out. Internationally, the country has received massive criticism. Pakistan, with a population of more than 175 million, is one of the countries officially in possession of the atomic bomb.