ISLAMABAD, Oct 27 (APP): Chairman Senate Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani Tuesday said peaceful neighborhood was a vital component of Pakistan’s foreign policy, highlighting importance of increased connectivity, trade linkages and better investment opportunities for regional development and economic prosperity.
Addressing the concluding session of a two-day seminar “Pakistan Afghanistan Trade & Investment Forum,” he said both Pakistan and Afghanistan shared strong geographic, cultural and religious ties and “building close cooperative relations with Afghanistan is a high priority of Pakistan’s foreign policy and a vital component of our vision of a ‘peaceful neighbourhood’.”
“It is now time to turn our bilateral and economic linkages into a strategic partnership for betterment and prosperity of our people and the region as well,” Sanjrani remarked.
He emphasized the need to raise current trade volume between the two countries to match immense economic cooperation potential, adding China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) offered another golden opportunity to join hands for wellbeing of the masses, especially youth.
Pakistan, the Senate chairman said, was keen to strengthen people-to-people contacts, trade and economic ties with Afghanistan.
He also mentioned that Pakistan reopened a key border crossing to resume exports from Afghanistan to India under the Pakistan-Afghanistan Transit Trade Agreement.
Sanjrani informed that Pakistan had recently introduced a new visa policy to facilitate business and promote people-to-people contacts between the two countries. This, he said, showed Pakistan’s support for a thriving Afghanistan.
He said people of both the countries had suffered immensely during the past few decades which also affected the economic development prospects. “There is need to move forward as our youth are calling for change now and it is our duty to create a safe place for them to realize their own potential.”
The Senate chairman expressed the hope that the seminar would provide the much needed blueprint for Pak-Afghan cooperative development future.
He commended Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser for personally looking into the matter of Afghan containers that had stuck up there.
He appreciated the organizers, especially the National Assembly led by the Speaker, for excellent arrangements and choosing most relevant topics for discussion during the two-day seminar.
“I firmly believe that the outcomes of this forum will pave the way towards much needed economic growth and prosperity in the region” Sanjrani said.
Addressing the participants, Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser said capitalizing the potential of trade and investment between Pakistan and Afghanistan would bring regional prosperity and economic stability.
He remarked that parliament-to-parliament contacts would ease the hurdles of traders and investors on both sides of the border.
“Both the countries are facing the scourge of extremism, terrorism and economic deprivations and only collaborative efforts by both partners would lessen the intensity of socio-economic issues faced by them,” he added.
Asad Qaiser said the forum was aimed at making recommendations and finding solutions to the impediments faced by traders on both sides of the border, adding more time was allocated for thematic sessions to grill the issues in depth and proposing their viable solutions.
He lauded the efforts made by Afghan delegation, members of trade and commerce of afghan community who travelled to Pakistan to remove the impediments in bilateral trade.
He expressed confidence that this seminar would prove as “start of the journey of cooperation and coordination between both the neighborly countries.”
He appreciated active participation of Afghan Parliament Delegation in the seminar which visited under the leadership of Speaker Wolesi Jirga Mir Rehman Rahmani, besides USAID for collaboration in holding a successful seminar.
The Senate Chairman and NA Speaker strongly condemned terrorist attack on Madrassa in Peshawar and resolved that such terrorist activities would not cause any dent in friendship between of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Advisor for Commerce and Investment Abdul Razaq Dawood said Preferential Trade Agreement would come under discussion during his visit to Afghanistan in November.
He said Pakistan considered trade with Afghanistan as an important component, adding trade volume enhancement was Pakistan’s objective and concrete steps would be taken in that regard.