Decision of Afghan govt, Taliban talks positive signal for peace process: PM

ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday said that the decision of talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban was a positive signal for the peace process.

“He desires a comprehensive and enduring partnership with Afghanistan that contributes to the security and prosperity of the two nations,” he said while talking to Afghanistan’s Wolesi Jirga Speaker Abdul Raouf Ibrahimi, who called on him here at the Prime Minister’s House. While highlighting Pakistan’s vital stake in peace, stability and development in Afghanistan, the prime minister said that Pakistan attached great importance to its brotherly ties with Afghanistan.

The prime minister said that stronger ties between the two countries would help reinforce efforts for peace and development in the region. Recalling President Ashraf Ghani’s visit to Pakistan in December last year, the prime minister said that Pakistan’s focus was on enhancement in mutual trust. He said that it would pave the way for deeper engagement in diverse areas of cooperation including security and counterterrorism, trade and economic development to the benefit of both the countries.

Nawaz said that Pakistan believed that terrorism was a common enemy and both the countries – Pakistan and Afghanistan need to work together to rid of this menace. He expressed his hope that Pakistan’s engagement in sincere and consistent efforts for promoting peace and reconciliation through an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process would ensure durable peace in Afghanistan.

The prime minister noted with satisfaction that the Quadrilateral Coordination Group has been making good progress in right direction. He said that Afghanistan must have an environment to enable return of the Afghan migrants to their country with respect, honor and dignity on the right time.

Nawaz Sharif also offered help to Afghanistan in its infrastructure development. Abdul Raouf Ibrahimi stated that Pakistan was the only nation which supported Afghanistan against external aggression in 1979. “We appreciate and applaud the role of Pakistani nation for hosting Afghan migrants for 30 years despite difficulties. They have hosted their Afghan brothers in an affectionate and caring manner,” he said.

“Pakistan is second home for its Afghan brothers and we must remain steadfast friends in every situation,” the speaker said. He said that Nawaz Sharif’s stand was very clear and his policy and vision for the peace process was appreciable. The speaker said that the friends of Afghanistan were friends of Pakistan and enemies of Afghanistan were enemies of Pakistan.

The Afghan delegation included Ambassador of Afghanistan to Pakistan Dr Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal and Members of the Afghan Parliament. National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq and Member National Assembly Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao were also present during the meeting.

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