Pakistan to Afghanistan: Cut violence, we stand by you

Hailing the start of intra-Afghan negotiations in Doha on September 12, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday expressed the hope that the Afghan leadership would seize this historic opportunity to work together constructively and secure an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement.

He underscored that all Afghan parties must work for reduction in violenceleading to ceasefire. He said Pakistan would support whatever the Afghans agree upon the future of Afghanistan. He reaffirmed Pakistan’s full support for the post-conflict Afghanistan on its path to reconstruction and economic development.

This he observed during a meeting with Chairman High Council for National Reconciliation of Afghanistan Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, who called on him here.

Extending a warm welcome, the prime minister conveyed his best wishes for a successful outcome of the Afghan peace process. He expressed the hope that Dr. Abdullah Abdullah’s visit would help open a new chapter in bilateral relations.

Imran reiterated his longstanding position that there was no military solution to the Afghan conflict and that a political solution was the only way forward. He expressed satisfaction that the international community had come to recognize this stance and also acknowledged Pakistan’s positive role in facilitating the Afghan peace process.

The US-Taliban peace agreement was a major step forward in these endeavours, he added. In the bilateral context, Prime Minister Imran Khan highlighted that Pakistan and Afghanistan had immense trade complementarities and emphasized the need for optimally utilizing these capacities for mutually-beneficial trade and transit. He assured Dr. Abdullah Abdullah that Pakistan would continue to undertake all efforts to facilitate the Afghan transit trade and deepen bilateral trade and economic ties and people-to-people exchanges with Afghanistan.

Imran said he was looking forward to his visit to Afghanistan on the invitation of President Ashraf Ghani. Meanwhile, speaking at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI), Dr Abdullah Abdullah said Afghanistan would focus on benefitting from the US-Taliban peace deal. ‘’There are no winners in the war, and no losers in peace. In the realms of challenges such as terrorism and coronavirus pandemic, Pakistan and Afghanistan need to work in close collaboration to overcome the related problems,” he said. Dr Abdullah emphasized strengthened relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan in the fields of transit trade and people-to-people contacts. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Pakistan desired sustainable peace in Afghanistan and would continue to extend support in this regard.

He said Pakistan’s peace was linked with peace and stability in Afghanistan and also in the entire region. Qureshi said Afghanistan must realize that Pakistan wanted to be its ‘’friend and not master’’.

Dr. Abdullah Abdullah also called on Chairman Senate Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani at the Parliament House. Sanjrani said Pakistan would continue to support efforts for a lasting peace in Afghanistan, as the solution to the Afghan problem lay in dialogue. Sanjrani also hosted a luncheon in the honor of Dr Abdullah Abdullah which was attended by parliamentary leaders, ministers and parliamentarians.